Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Governor refers Linebacker civil rights complaints to US Attorney

Governor Rick Perry will forward civil rights complaints about the El Paso Sheriff unlawfully engaging in immigration enforcement to Western District US Attorney Johnny Sutton, according to a letter he sent to Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, the president of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus. Hinojosa announced Perry's decision to refer the case in a press release today. (Not yet online, see these past Grits items on the topic.)

I am concerned both by recent immigration raids conducted by Sheriff Leo Samaniego in El Paso County and by confirmed reports that the sheriff is setting up roadblocks and asking vehicle occupants for driver's licenses, car insurance information and social security cards," Senator Juan Hinojosa wrote in a letter to Perry last week. " These raids and roadblocks are questionable in legality, and may give rise to civil rights lawsuits against Texas …I am asking you to develop a policy regarding the use of funds received under your border initiative -- Operation Linebacker."

No word on whether the Governor will create such a new policy. He needs to. Sounds like he's passing the buck on the civil rights complaint.


Anonymous said...

Why is that "passing the buck"? The governor doesn't prosecute civil rights complaints?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Well, he should refer the complaint AND declare a policy that Linebacker funds can't be used for immigration enforcement. The Governor has control over what those grant funds are used for, and he should excercise it.

Anonymous said...

The funds should be used for no other purpose than Border protection. All available personnel from all enforcement agencies should be involved. The border must be controlled.

Anonymous said...

Celtictexan said... The border must be controlled.

From what my friend? It's been open for well over 200 years.

Some of you people need to wake up and pay attention to what our Supreme Court is doing to the American citizens. The Mexican boarder is the very least of our problems.

Anonymous said...

anonymous I would have a hard time arguing with you about the Supreme Court. It seems to have been on a mission to destroy the US one little bit at a time ever since Rowe v Wade. But laws already exist to protect our borders and we should be using them. I'm uncertain what your implying about the borders being open for 200 hundred years. The borders have only been open since Kennedy and his liberal America hating cronies changed the immigration laws.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

CelticTexan - your history is inaccurate. There were no laws restricting immigration into the US from the time of the founding fathers until 1918 when passports were first required. Before then it would have been oxymoronic to speak of "illegal" immigration. Plus, the Mexican border was MORE open pre-Kennedy, not less. Johnson set the first quantitative limits on access from Mexico in 1965, see this blog post.

Restricting immigration is the newbie policy here - unfettered immigration is what we had in the "good old days" and at the time of the nation's founders. Best.

Anonymous said...

I would argue as immigration was restricted in many different ways. For instance disease could keep you out. Not having some type of sponsor could keep you. For the most part only whites or Europeans were allowed in. A tour of Ellis Island would show you many things that in fact did serve to keep most undesirables out.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@CelticTexan: I've visited Ellis Island, thrice. While it's true the sick and infirmed weren't admitted, often they were allowed to heal in a hospital wing for weeks THEN admitted, plus they were a very small percentage overall. Meanwhile, immigrant aide societies would "sponsor" immigrants from their home country even when they didn't know them, so that was literally ZERO barrier to admission. It's just not true - restricting immigration is a 20th Century nativist policy, not one historically grounded in the principles of the founding fathers, most of whom would have found the idea of rejecting able-bodied immigrants who came here for jobs abhorrent on its face.

Also, it's worth mentioning that whatever happened on Ellis Island never applied on the Mexican border. - there, immigration wasn't numerically restricted until 1965.

Lou Reed's right: They should change the stature of liberty's epigraph to read, "Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry and I'll piss on them." That seems to be the prevailing attitude of the day.

Anonymous said...


Like I say there have been many restrictions and laws. The above is somewhat biased but basically accurate.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@CelticTexan: From the article you cited:

Before the American Revolution, "The only immigration restrictions at this time were on criminals and public charges."

Then, the first political "movements to limit immigration" began to form in response to the Irish in the 18th century, the author reports, but she also notes that no laws were passed limiting it in response to those movements prior to the Civil War.

After the Civil War, "In 1875, Congress passed the first restrictive statute for immigration, barring convicts and prostitutes from admission." That's a far cry from banning non-criminals who want to come here to work. That same statute, she said, outlawed "so-called 'coolie- labor' contracts" as well as "immigration for lewd and immoral purposes."

The next wave of immigration restrictions she cites occurred after Word War I.

So before the Civil War we find no restrictions. Starting in 1875 the US restricted convicts, prostitutes, sexual deviants and "coolies" - so three limited, arguably justified categories and one overtly racist one. Then after WWI, the anti-immigrant ball started rolling in earnest, for sure with formal per-country limits placed on the books (if widely ignored when convenient), but all that's a modern phenomenon.

Sorry Celtic, I can't agree that there have always been such restrictions. The source you cite, at least, doesn't confirm it. Best,

Anonymous said...

I think you have to read between the lines a little. I don't mean to say that there were rows of lawyers whipping out reams of immigrant immigration just that in many ways disirables were seoarated from the undsirables. While most would start to scram racists I included the part about the Irish just to show that the controls were about behavior not race. Any way guess we'll just have to disagree.