Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hutchison immigration plan harms public safety

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison wants to give state and local law enforcement agencies authority to enforce immigration laws, but doing so risks worse lawlessness.

So many undocumented immigrants now live and work in Texas, Hutchison's proposal risks leaving hundreds of thousands of people in a position where they can't request help from law enforcement or even assist police investigations. If immigrants think contacting local law enforcement will get them deported, witnesses won't come forward. Worse, victims of crime won't report criminal acts perpetrated against them. Abused wives will fear to call for help. Even children would understandably refrain from reporting incidents of pedophilia or abuse.


Is that the kind of society we want to live in? Even if someone entered the country illegally, should we really create a class of crime victims who have no recourse to ask police for help?

Does that make us safer?

UPDATE: See more from the El Paso Times, Knight Ridder, the San Antonio Express News, the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas News, and the Daily Texan.

Nuther UPDATE: See Kuff, Dos Centavos, and the Jeffersonian. Related: See Rio Grande Valley Politics and Rep. Aaron Pena's recent blogging on immigration topics.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

There already is a class of crime victims that have no recourse to ask police for help, the average American citizen, reporting undocumented immigrants aka: illegal aliens. As for reporting crimes when they are victims, what makes you think they report crimes in great numbers now? Being undocumented puts a chill on reporting crime across the board and allowing them to stay illegally makes them open to more crime victimization. At least the politicians are talking solutions to the problem.

Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right? You're comparing spousal abuse and pedophilia victims to "the average American citizen reporting undocumented immigrants"? So you'd rather a pedophile roaming your neighborhood than an illegal immigrant? Geez, find some priorities, will ya?

Some crimes have real victims; immigrants working for American businesses who want them here, really, aren't victimizing anybody.

JD Allen said...

So what do you want to do, Grits? Nothing? No control over the borders at all? You can't do this. You can't do that. No matter the attempt, someone cries that it is unconstitutional, or too mean, or too likely to cause something else.

What would you suggest to help stop or even slow the tide? I don't think there is a solution at all, personally, but I would like to know if you have any ideas on it.

Or would you just like to keep telling everyone else that their ideas are wrong or evil or unworkable?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ JD: I believe in markets, not just for goods and services but for labor, too. And as long as the US labor market demands Mexican labor, it will continue to cross the border, which is an artificial line not recognized by markets (look at the drug war).

My feeling is that, like the market for marijuana, for example, the worst consequences from illegal immigration stem from its illegal status and the empowerment of a criminal capitalist class. That's different from blaming the people themselves who come here, most of whom are law-abiding folks looking for work, not criminals by any stretch. Similarly, I don't think we win the war on drugs by arresting pot smokers.

I'd addressed ways to regulate the labor market earlier in this string. There I'd suggested:

"Lots of different ways to get rid of black markets for labor, or limit them. Getting rid of the minimum wage might be one, but another might be giving undocumented workers rights to enforce labor laws in court without being deported. Another might be much more lenient and widespread guest worker programs, amnesty programs, etc. Another might just be to acquiesce in reality and provide documentation that allows folks to work under protection of the labor laws. (We need a lot more people paying into social security now, after all, to keep it solvent.) I'm no immigration expert, but it seems like there's a lot of ways to skin that cat if one's goals aren't fundamentally anti-immigrant."

Finally, since you say "I don't think there's a solution at all," it seems like you agree that no solution proposed is workable, including Hutchison's, or could be implemented without worse unintended consequences. Perhaps you're just frustrated to see it stated that way up front as an assumption BEFORE looking for solutions, instead of just a mantle for displaying anti-immigrant vitriol as it's usually stated? We can't look for solutions before acknowledging reality, and the reality is letting local cops enforce immigration laws will foster more serious crime.

@ anonymous 1: I'm curious, how have you been victimized? What is your great tale of woe?

Anonymous said...

I am a white middle class American who travels frequently to Mexico. Some of the real problems that I see existing there which encourage illegal flight to the U.S. are as follows: 1)Religion. Most of the country's population does not believe in birth control and feels that the out-of-control births are gifts from God. What they fail to realize is that they are essentially creating their own competition in the job market where there is little opportunity to begin with.
2)Education. The public schools do not offer any sort of quality education. Private schools are beyond affordability for most. The tuitions in American dollars amounts to what we spend on entertainment each month.
3)Obscenely corrupt government. The current party in power, the PRI, at election time hand out bags of food in exchange for votes. They are able to do this because voters' names are on a master register within their district and their party selection is entered on that very register and can be immediately verified by those bribing them with the food. There have been former leaders that have looted Mexico's treasury and have fled the country-Salinas immediately comes to mind.

Our government's main objective should be to find ways to make it desirable for Mexicans to return to their homeland. Instead, there is allegedly a plan in place to build a Social Security office in Mexico City with the idea of giving illegal aliens that have worked in the U.S. Social Security benefits. For more on that, google Ron Paul's article on that subject; he is against it. There is currently a candidate that will run for president on an independent party ticket, the PRD, which is a pro-poor, pro-labor, pro-choice, progressive that would turn Mexico around. He was going to go to LA to speak to the many latin americans that are registered legally to vote in government elections and was warned by the powers-that-be that if he left the country, he would not be eligible to run for office. I could go on and on for days documenting my personal experiences and what I have witnessed but I appreciate anyone who has read this far.

Houston, we really do have a problem.

Anonymous said...

All illegal immigrants should be roundd up and shipped back to their nations of origin at the cost of said nations. If they want to become American citizens, they should do so via legal channels. Tough cookies for businesses if they like paying for cheap, subpar labor.

JD Allen said...

That's right, Grits, my friend. I don't think there is anything we can do that will work. Well - if we put up a serious wall, and watch towers with 50 caliber machine guns and killed anybody trying to cross them (Like the East Germans used to do, except the other way.) that would work.

And how could we go to that extreme to keep someone from trying to find a job that pays enough to live on, barely? It wouldn't be right. If you could find someone to man those guns, who would shoot to kill under those circumstances, they would not be the kind of people I would like to have behind me.

We should have taken over that country after The War Between the States, or better yet, instead of that war, like Sam Houston wanted to.

Then, we would be having this same argument, but about how to keep the illegals from swimming the canal. We could still do it. It makes as much sense as some other wars.

markm said...

"Some crimes have real victims; immigrants working for American businesses who want them here, really, aren't victimizing anybody."

Ask the ranchers whose land they cross while getting into America to reach those jobs. Vandalism and theft have real victims, and seem to be pretty common. Just cutting fences so you can cross can be pretty expensive for the rancher. Illegal border crossers commit more serious crimes, too, although I think these are due to a few real criminals who hide in the masses of job-seekers.

And that is the real issue: If millions of people a year can enter without going through customs and immigration, then those who intend to do us real harm can follow the same path. This includes terrorists as well as those who simply want more prosperous victims to rob and murder - and then duck back into Mexico when the law gets too close.

If I was running things, we would let anyone with a reasonably clean record in to try to find work, through properly run checkpoints. Those who crossed without going through a checkpoint would be assumed to be a dangerous criminal, pursued aggressively, and locked up for at least a year once caught. If their home country wants them back early, OK - given some meaningful guarantees that they'll be prevented from heading right back across the border.

Those who entered legally would receive ID at entry, and we would keep track of them. (This requires a much more competent government agency than the current INS.) They would be required to report when and where they found a job and a residence, and deported if this took too long, say over 60 days. Immigrants in the first five years would NOT receive any form of welfare, unemployment, government-paid medical care, or any other tax-paid benefits except public schools for their children - which would not spend extra money accomodating non-English speakers.

After five years, either the immigrants will be able to communicate in English and show an intention to become a citizen, or they get sent home.

group health insurance plans said...

Hello, cool blog. You have a good one going here. I was blogging today and came across it. Keep up the good ideas :)

regards,
health insurance quote short term

800 pound gorilla said...

Anybody with half a brain would realize that immigrant "quotas" are racist in nature to reduce the numbers of "them" coming into this country. You should read the paranoid blogs about Mexico taking back our country via immigration. Yes, we could "reform" Mexico; maybe it would work better than our attempts to "reform" Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe we should stop giving people money to enforce authoritarian, abusive and immoral laws [I'm sorry I meant scams] like the drug war.