In Congress you can usually spot grandstanding when a senator or representative starts to question a witness, corporate executive, or bureaucrat with question like "don't you think that...?" Then follows those four words with a 10 minute speech about what the poor schelp testifying should be thinking.
Monday's little council melee' was an exercise in fear-mongering. Councilors Sanchez, Garduno, O'Malley and Benton were attempting to conjure up horrific images of citizens of Hispanic decent being dragged from their beds in the middle of the night to be handed over to ICE for interrogation and of victims of domestic violence who are here either legally or illegally being afraid to contact police because of a immigration status check.
The policy itself only applies to those who are arrested and taken into custody. Then it applies to everyone who is arrested regardless of race, creed, or color. Everyone is finger printed. Everyone is checked for immigration status. Just like everyone will be run through NCIC.
The fingerprinting policy alone could result in numerous arrests for outstanding warrants. The truth is most criminals tend to commit more than one crime. Those that have come here illegally have already committed a crime when they chose to ignore U.S. immigration law. How is checking immigration status any different than searching for wants and warrants?
Officers generally check to see if you're wanted for other crimes any time they make a stop. If you're speeding or your brake light is out, they're gonna check. The simple fact is - that information could save their life if they come into contact with someone suspected of a violent crime. Mayor Berry's new administrative policy won't go into effect unless and until a suspect is taken into custody.
[Sidebar]As we've said before, Mayor Berry's new policy might have prevented the rape of a 6 year old girl. And oddly enough, Governor Bill Richardson agrees.
Much of last night's debate involved whether or not the new "procedure" was a policy. Councilors Garduno and Sanchez were in a bit of a twist over the distinction. They claimed that if it was a "policy" then the city council should have been consulted.
The City of Albuquerque has a strong executive form of government. The mayor and his designees are charged with setting administrative policy. If the council wants to weigh-in they have the authority to do so through their charter granted legislative authority. Their efforts failed.
Gov. Bill Richardson on Monday told the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department to start reporting violent juvenile criminals who are foreign nationals to immigration authorities.
CYFD has not been reporting them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since 2006, when Mary-Dale Bolson, then secretary of CYFD, suspended a state regulation requiring CYFD to do so, CYFD spokeswoman Romaine Serna said Monday.Look... The idea that immigration should only be enforced at the border is an abrogation of responsibility. In fact it encourages illegal immigration by removing the threat of deportation if an illegal can just make it far enough into the country.
But that regulation, which required CYFD to report all foreign nationals entering its system, was in place when Juan Gonzalez, a Mexican national who's now 20 years old, was accused in 2005 of raping a 6-year-old boy and molesting a 3-year-old girl.
Monday night's council meeting reminded us of the Spanish Inquisition with Councilors Sanchez, Garduno, Benton, and O'Malley acting as Grand Inquisitors. All that was lacking was an order to tie Mayor Berry's representatives to a rock and throw them in Tingley Beach to see if they float. If they float, the policy's evil and can be burned at the stake. If they drown, then... well... oops.