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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Crackdown and enforcement

--posted by Tony Garcia on 5/10/2006

The solutions to illegal immigration are simple. Highly punitive fines against companies that hire illegal immigrants and enforcement of the current laws. In Arizona they take enforcement seriously.
On Wednesday, the posse, a civilian force of 300 volunteers, many of them retired deputies, are to fan out over desert backcountry, watching for smugglers and the people they guide into these parts.

Already, a small team of deputies roams the human-trafficking routes to enforce a nine-month-old state law that makes smuggling people a felony and effectively authorizes local police forces to enforce immigration law.
"I have compassion for the Mexican people, but if you come here illegally you are going to jail," said Sheriff Arpaio, an elected Republican, whose county is the fourth most populous in the country and among the fastest growing.

To avoid suggestions that deputies practice racial profiling, the sheriff has ordered them to find probable cause, usually a minor traffic infraction, before pulling over suspect vehicles.
Hooray for Arizona.
Lawyers and advocates for the jailed immigrants, several of whom are challenging their arrests, take a different view.

"It's really an attempt to intimidate immigrants by threatening and imposing incarceration," said Victoria Lopez, executive director of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.
Of course, threatening incarceration for ILLEGAL immigration is, well, just immoral. This is the same crowd that I'm betting is lining up for Mumia...because incarcerating people breaking the law is just wrong.
Peter Schey, a lawyer from Los Angeles hired by the Mexican consulate here to represent some of the detainees, said, "This sheriff is not the director of homeland security, but that is how he is acting."

Sheriff Arpaio sought and received an interpretation of the statute by County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas, who said the illegal immigrants could face charges that they conspired with smugglers.

Mr. Thomas, also a Republican, sent a letter on Tuesday to the State Department protesting what he considered Mexico's intrusion into Arizona affairs by retaining Mr. Schey and trying to challenge the law.
Yeah, Mexico, butt out. You are failing to do your job on your side of the border. You are failing to make your country a place where people want to live. Besides, Mexico, you lost your right to advocate for these people when you let them slip across the border.

Now the real issue that may be problematic is the issue of state's rights vs federal responsibility.
Smuggling illegal immigrants is a federal crime. Arizona adopted its law last year out of frustration that Washington had not done enough to control illegal crossings. In recent years, central Arizona has emerged as a prime crossing point.

A majority of illegal immigrants caught by the Border Patrol are returned to their home countries — in the case of Mexicans, almost immediately — without charges.

In the eight weeks since the team of deputies formed, 146 people have been arrested, Sheriff Arpaio said, with 12 suspected of being smugglers. Four have pleaded guilty and under a deal with prosecutors received three years' probation. They will be referred to federal authorities for deportation.
Mr. Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, an advocacy group, said nothing in the law authorized charging illegal immigrants with smuggling. In court papers, he suggested that the entire law was invalid because it "pre-empts" federal authority to regulate and enforce immigration law.
Sadly, I bet this law will be struck down for that exact reason. But since the Federal Government has been incompetent in enforcing the borders they should allow the states to do so.

Amnesty is not the answer here. The answer is to REMOVE not CREATE an incentive to cross the border. Jail time for the smugglers and the co-conspirators (the smuggled) is one part of that. Fines that damage the companies that hire illegals is the other part of solving the illegal immigration problem.

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