I hate to get in Philip’s way so fast, but I suggest before you read this, read the two posts he put up before this. I just read something that absolutely made my stomach churn and I had to write about it. I guess I shouldn’t have expected any better from the New York Times.
It’s been put in the headlines that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has expanded the Tent City jail with a separate facility that is specifically for holding detainees arrested on suspicion of being in the United States illegally. Now, it’s no secret that I don’t like Arpaio. He’s a grandstanding, preening peacock who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. He has 24 chiefs in his employ, whereas he really only needs eight. He keeps his office in the expensive Wells Fargo tower downtown when he could have an office in the Fourth Avenue jail, where space was set aside for that very purpose. He is also paying for a “partner” program in Honduras that he won’t answer for–and had his PIO show their collective ineptitude by claiming that “the dangerous MS13 street gang was founded in Honduras.” (Fact is, any law enforcement officer worth their salt knows the basics about MS13, and knows this is total B.S.)
Yesterday, Arpaio announced that the new expansion of the Tent City jail was going to house illegal immigrants only. He did so by marching them in jail uniforms and shackles in front of God and everybody from the Durango facility down the street to the new extension of Tent City. If I know Arpaio, he assuredly called the media and deliberately invited them to film the event. Today, right on schedule, a NYT editorial decried not only the spectacle put on for Arpaio’s eager fanbase in the Phoenix area (where we hear it every day and are quite used to it), but also the current mood of being tougher on illegal immigration.
The NYT columnist gave a sound rebuke to Janet Napolitano–former Arizona governor, now Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security–for her refusal to toe the party line on the recent spate of arrests by Border Patrol, ICE and local agencies working with the feds. But I’d like to know what everyone’s really upset about this time. Are they really all that bitter about immigration enforcement, or are they just getting their panties in a wad because Arpaio is giving them a reason to? “He’s segregating them from the general population! It’s racism!” Um…no. There are multiple populations that are kept separate for a list of very good reasons. Sex offenders are typically kept in PC (protective custody) because they’ll likely be killed if they’re in gen pop. Law enforcement officers are kept in another form of PC because everyone wants them dead. Men and women are kept in separate facilities. In this case, I have to admit that Arpaio has a few very good reasons.
First of all, immigration detainees have special needs. They often need translators. They get visits from members of their countries’ consulates, visits that are different from family visits. They are on different time schedules because of these things. They go to a separate court, which is also on a different schedule. It is actually significantly easier to keep them in their own area. And racism my backside–the detainees may be largely Hispanic because Arizona borders Mexico, but there’s illegals being arrested from all over the world who are now in this new part of the jail.
Another gripe brought up–one popular with the anti-enforcement crowd–is that the people being arrested are mostly the “cooks, maids and day laborers” that most people wouldn’t consider a threat. Really? Ask the family of Shane Figueroa how they feel about that statement. He was a young Phoenix cop killed in the line of duty by a drunk-driving day laborer illegal from Mexico who was wanted on at least four separate DUI charges and had used three different aliases (not counting the one he gave the night he killed Shane). Ask those who live in the small border communities who regularly come home to find illegals in their homes, eating their food and stealing their belongings. Ask the family of Jamiel Shaw, gunned down by the teenaged son of illegals for refusing to say he belonged to a gang–while Jamiel’s mother served our country in Iraq. Ask the business owners who are targeted by day laborers who trash and destroy the property of any business that refuses to allow them to harass customers.
The problem I have with that idea is even simpler, though. With the H2-A guest worker visa program in place, it doesn’t require much to get permission to come here to work. It’s inexpensive and takes very little time as long as you have a clean background. Yet it costs anywhere from $1500 to $5000 to hire a coyote to help smuggle you across the border into the United States, and the trip is never safe or guaranteed. You do so without knowing if you may be kidnapped and held for ransom, raped, robbed or murdered. You take this chance just to get a job that you’ll have to either make up an identity for or steal the identity of another to be hired for, and you don’t bother to learn the laws of this country or the language so you can blend in and avoid arrest. Pardon my logic, but it seems to me that if a person is willing to take the vastly more expensive and dangerous route to get here, they likely were either turned down for a visa with good reason or knew they would be. Those aren’t the people I want coming here.
If every other country in the world is allowed to place limits on who can enter, work and live within their borders, then none of them have any right at all to tell us how to enforce our laws. And those Americans who chastise the rest of us for wanting to deport the moochers? Open your homes to them and let me know how that goes. This “warped crackdown on illegal immigration” is nothing more than enforcing laws that weren’t enforced before.