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Amnesty, Then Enforcement? Think Again


Anyone who thinks that an amnesty will at least clear the way for future immigration enforcement should check out this New York Times story: a sympathetic account from Houston of opposition to a program that screens local prison inmates for immigration status. Critics charge that this modest, underfunded initiative (dubbed “Secure Communities”), which only detects that minute portion of illegal aliens who are already in ICE’s databases, constitutes a reign of terror. They ask: Why should an illegal alien who has merely committed a misdemeanor or traffic offense be deported? Whether you break the law once, twice, or any number of times, nothing should interfere with your right to stay in the country illegally.

Among the allegedly innocuous misdemeanor offenders who have been detected by the Houston program in its first six months are hundreds of drunk drivers (including one who ran over a volunteer firefighter, severing his legs) and hundreds of drug offenders. An immigration lawyer says that “few” people disagree with deporting dangerous criminals (some, by his own account, apparently do), but I’ve yet to see any illegal-alien advocate tolerate any deportation of anyone, ever. Amnesty will not change that stance, but it will attract more illegal aliens who will reasonably bank on hanging around until the next amnesty is passed.


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