Dispatches: Celebrating Diversity
The Post had a good article the other day on the sea change in focus on solving the illegal immigration problem. Earlier this year, nearly every local elected official blew off questions about illegal aliens by saying "it's a federal problem."
Lately, not so much:
But that accommodation for the burgeoning illegal population ended abruptly in April, when the Mecklenburg County sheriff's office began to enforce immigration law, placing more than 100 people a month into deportation proceedings. Some of them had been charged with violent crimes, others with traffic infractions.
The program takes one of the most aggressive stances in the United States toward illegal immigrants, and officials in scores of communities, including Herndon and Loudoun County, have been considering adopting their own version. The House earlier this month was weighing a measure "reaffirming" the authority of local law enforcement agencies to arrest people on suspicion of violating immigration laws...
Besides Mecklenburg, six other state and local law enforcement agencies have started similar programs in recent years. A dozen more are being worked out with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And in the past three months, hundreds of state and local departments have inquired about similar efforts, said Robert J. Hines, who heads the program for the ICE.
"When you are removing the criminal element from the community, it's hard to point a finger and say it's a bad thing," Hines said.
Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson said his department is considering participating....
There are valid reasons to argue that any crackdown on illegal aliens creates a humanitarian dilemma. Certainly it does.
But there is also the humanitarian dilemma of American citizens who have seen their jobs eliminated or wages slashed by companies that have recourse to the cheap labor offered by illegal aliens. It's happened in Loudoun County, where construction, contracting and general blue-collar occupations have been downgraded by the influx of illegal workers.
Anyone remember what happened after Hurricane Katrina? Problem in a nutshell: The local black population got screwed because the companies doing the rebuilding saved some bucks by using illegal workers. More here.
The other humanitarian problem is our neighborhoods. It's nice to cut the people from other countries a break. It's not so nice when this is the result.
These photos were all taken last Sunday morning in my neighborhood. All of these depict violations of current zoning regulations or general rules of civil behavior. I've got LOTS more like these.
From a humanitarian perspective, what do we say to the long-time Sterling residents who a couple years ago did not have to deal with houses with nine cars, or commercial equipment, or general blight, as their neighbors?
Here's the kicker: In order to report any of these violations, Sterling residents have to fill out a somewhat intimidating complaint form that affirms - I will show up in court to affirm this complaint. From my experience, NO ONE will submit the form because they are afraid of retaliation by foreign nationals inhabiting many of these residences. In my immediate neighborhood, in fact, the only resident I know of who has submitted a complaint was the victim of vandalism soon thereafter.
With the only reporting apparatus putting the onus on legal, law-abiding citizens to put their neck out against blatant lawbreakers, the community safety program in Loudoun County is clearly broken. No wonder the citizens have been quiet.
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