America’s Open House

By Ilana Mercer

Free Market News Network
Monday, October 02, 2006

If career criminal Juan Leonardo Quintero had been kept out of the country or in the clink, where he belonged, Houston police officer Rodney Johnson, father of five, would be alive today.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Johnson had stopped Quintero for a traffic violation and arrested him because he had no identification. During a pat-down search, Johnson failed to detect Quinteros concealed weapon, which the thug then promptly used to shoot the officer four times in the head.

The Chronicle states that Quintero had been deported as an illegal felon in 2004, following a charge of indecency with a childCourt records show Quintero was given deferred adjudication in that case. Reentering the country after being convicted of an aggravated felony and deported is an offense punishable with 20 years in jail. Yet Quintero was out and about, gainfully employed and packing heat.

In addition to child molestation, Quinteros criminal record included an arrest for driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license, and fleeing the scene of an automobile accident, which he presumably caused. (Were not quite sure, since, as the list of offenses grew, the Chronicle shifted into the passive voice).

Houstons police chief blamed the Federal Frankenstein for not protecting the borders. Its a federal law-enforcement issue, not a local law-enforcement issue, goes the familiar chant. Ordinarily Id say the chiefs blame-the-feds instincts were good, but not this time. Houston is a sanctuary city, as are New York, Chicago, San Diego, and Austin. Ushered in by brazen illegal-alien lobbyists, These sanctuary policies, explains Heather Mac Donald, generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities.

Houstons sanctuary policy goes beyond the call of dutyto illegal aliens, that is. Paraphrased, it instructs that unlawful entry into the US not be treated as an on-going offense; that its police officers not stop or apprehend individuals solely on the belief that they are in the country illegally; and that officers not make inquiries as to the citizenship status of any person. It gets worse. Officers [can] contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding a person only if that person is arrested on a separate criminal charge and the officer knows the prisoner is an illegal alien.

What this should tell Americans is that sanctuary cities have abandoned crime prevention. As Mac Donald puts it, writing in the Winter 2004 issue of City Journal, Sanctuary law contradicts a key 1990s policing discovery: the Great Chain of Being in criminal behavior. Pick up a law-violator for a minor crime, and you might well prevent a major crime: enforcing graffiti and turnstile-jumping laws nabs you murderers and robbers. Enforcing known immigration violations, such as reentry following deportation, against known felons, would be even more productive.

Immigration illegality clearly correlates significantly with criminality. (Although squeezing statistics from official crime reports as to illegal-alien involvement in crime is virtually impossible.) As Mac Donald reveals, Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. In 2000 nearly 30 percent of federal prisoners were foreign-born. In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants are for illegal aliens. In 1995, already 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California was illegal. In the Mecklenburg County, where the sheriff recently broke with the country and began to enforce immigration law, 1,200 foreign-born people have been arrested since April, on charges ranging from traffic violations and trespassing to sex crimes, and nearly 600 have been found to be here illegally.

In 1996 the federal government tried to ban sanctuary laws, as they interfered with immigration enforcement. As a proponent of states rights and decentralization, instantiated in the Ninth and 10th Amendments, I rarely wish to see federal solons usurp the states. Local police ought to be tasked with immigration enforcement. After all, who is more motivated to protect home and hearth than members of the community?

However, state police have come up against zealous advocates for illegal aliens, including criminal gangs whose special pleading is particularly persuasive. The co-optation of local cops is a testament to the power of these special interestsit explains why states refuse to do due diligence to their charges and rescind sanctuary-city policies. Mac Donald describes this grubby political exigency thus: Law-abiding residents of gang-infested neighborhoods may live in terror of the tattooed gangbangers dealing drugs, spraying graffiti, and shooting up rivals outside their homes, but such anxiety can never equal a politicians fear of offending Hispanics.

Open-immigration fundamentalist Tamar Jacoby squints at flesh-and-blood Americans; to her, America is a mere proposition, nothing but an idea. She dismissed Quinteros illegality as irrelevant to his crime. But for that conceit to fly, Jacoby would have to show that had Quintero been deported or jailed, his victims would have nevertheless suffered the same fate at the hands of another murderer and child molestera deeply silly suggestion.

Indeed, the Jacobins of unfettered immigration present a consistently weak case against enforcement (and for laundering illegals). If its not argumentum ad misericordiam (the logical fallacy of an appeal to pity); its fatalismas when they assert that enforcing the law is futile: If illegals want to get in, theyll get in.

Consider an equally fatalistic parent who leaves the doors to the family home permanently wide open. Why postpone the inevitable, he waffles? If scofflaws were scheming to Elizabeth Smart his daughter or help themselves to his possessions, theyd find a way in, eventually, he reasons. That this hippie holds an open house soon becomes known around the hood, and the inevitable happens. Can the parent argue in good conscience and logic that the robbery, abduction, rape, or murder of his dependents was unavoidable?

Its getting harder and harder for Americas policy proxiespoliticians, pundits and policeto finesse their criminal negligence and breach of duty.