City Mayor can make ICE melt
Something that needs to be explained to an international audience, and perhaps to a domestic audience as well, local communities in the United States wield considerable power. Note in the following story that 1) the US immigration service must have an agreement – a contract with local governments defining data sharing, and 2) the Feds must work within considerable constraints of local communities to do the basic things like “enforcing the law against illegal immigrants.”
Is that what we the people had in mind when we enacted Federal statutes against illegal immigration?
I really think that immigration law enforcement highlights the same sort of problem that we have with healthcare. There are 50 states with different ideas and standards. Multiply that by the number of communities that put their own spin on the law and you have something that is way too costly and ineffective to implement.
The burden on Philadelphia’s mayor, in this instance, is to enforce the basic law. When you find an illegal immigrant, no matter what the circumstance, hold them and call ICE. If ICE says, “We’re too busy now,” then document the information and share it for further action. If the apprehension is crime related, lock the illegal up until the Feds show up. Isn’t that common sense? Isn’t that enforcing the law?
If cities don’t want to enforce the law, then cannot the Federal Government withhold federal funds as a form of punishment? Are not there rules of accountability that apply to mayors regarding their enforcing all laws?
I am in favor of processing illegal’s via amnesty because I believe government has failed everyone. Now, the mayor of Philadelphia may be a hero to some, but I think he has become a criminal himself. He would not be the first big city mayor to end up in jail.
“Philly to Continue Sharing Arrest Records With Immigration Officials
Published July 17, 2010
Philadelphia will renew a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE , that gives immigration authorities access to city arrest records after revising the agreement to exclude data on victims and witnesses.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced Friday that the city had agreed to renew for one year its participation in ICE's Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System, or PARS, after his concerns were addressed that the data on victims and witnesses were discouraging illegal immigrants from reporting crimes out of fear of being deported.
"The city of Philadelphia will no longer provide victim and witness information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement," Nutter said in a written statement. "Victims should come forward. Witnesses should speak out. Their information will go no further. No action with regards to their status will be taken."
The agreement appears to resolve for now one immigration controversy as another rages in Arizona over that state's tough law cracking down on illegal immigrants. Arizona's law has drawn several legal challenges and protests from opponents, including the federal government, and praise from supporters, including other states looking to pass similar measures.
Philadelphia had become a proxy fight over how far states and cities should go to fight illegal immigration.
Under the PARS agreement, federal immigration agents can look at preliminary arrest records for the past year, including cases that are tossed before a trial begins. Nutter had said he would support renewing the contract only if the program is changed to protect illegal immigrants who are victims of or witnesses to crimes.
Supporters of the program, including local Tea Party activists, had argued ending the agreement would make Philly a safe haven for illegal immigrants. But opponents had said people arrested for minor crimes already are subject to deportations.
The city also participates in ICE's Secure Communities program, which allows authorities to check the immigration status of individuals they arrest through fingerprinting.
Nutter fired a shot at Tea Party members in his statement as he called for comprehensive immigration overhaul that enhances border security and provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
"Yes we need enhanced border control. Yes we need to focus our efforts on those who pose a threat to our country," he said. "But let's not fall into the trap set by the Tea Party and others who would tell you that every single undocumented individual is a drug smuggler, a terrorist, or a threat to the American way of life. That is simply not true."”