Apart from actually saving children from being killed, the political objective of the ban on partial-birth abortions and the Born Alive Act was to flush out NARAL and NOW and their minions in Congress as not just pro-choice, but radically pro-abortion. These kinds of measures also serve to drive a wedge between those who oppose them and the many ordinary people who vote pro-choice but are nonetheless disgusted by such practices.
In immigration, Secure Communities serves a similar function. It’s a DHS initiative that checks the fingerprints of suspects booked by local cops and sheriffs against immigration databases, with about half the nation’s jurisdictions already enrolled and the rest expected to be online by 2013. It’s especially useful, obviously, in identifying criminal aliens, who are a priority for deportation. Although I’m against this administration’s efforts to exempt from deportation all illegal aliens who haven’t yet committed violent crimes, who could object to deporting serious criminals?
Except that some people do object to deporting criminals, and denounce Secure Communities for enabling the immigration authorities to identify them. If you’re against Secure Communities you aren’t just dovish on immigration — you are a genuine open-borders radical. My colleague Jon Feere highlights one of the radical groups flushed out by this controversy: something called the Immigrant Defense Project, whose director, one Michelle Fei, bemoans that a convicted armed robber she knows was deported to Guyana. Fei writes that “our coalition has vociferously called for the protection [from deportation] of all immigrants, not just those who can be deemed innocent or low priority. . . . People with criminal convictions still belong with their families and communities, no matter what.”
Sure, it’s easy to find a wacko on any issue, and there wouldn’t be much political value to flushing out a kook living in his mother’s basement. But this organization is not marginal; it’s actually part of the mainstream Left. The Immigrant Defense Project’s parent organization, the Fund for the City of New York, was founded by the Ford Foundation and is funded by Ford and George Soros and others, and includes on its board the former managing director of Lehman Brothers, a former New York state attorney general, a former state judge, the president of Perseus Books, professors from Columbia and CUNY, and others. It succeeded in getting New York governor Andrew Cuomo to try to opt out of Secure Communities (in vain, since it’s not a voluntary program).
Opposition to Secure Communities means support for open borders — not “open borders” as a polemical tool, but the actual absence of any immigration enforcement. The fight over the issue should help voters and reporters and politicians see that Ford, Soros, and their various extrusions on the political landscape are against immigration enforcement, as such. Now, one can make an argument for ending national borders and national sovereignty, just as one can make an argument for cracking babies’ skulls open and vacuuming their brains out. But supporters of such policies need to be honest about their objectives, and Secure Communities helps clarify that debate.