The NYT has a thoughtful immigration piece on its op-ed page (how often do you read that sentence?). It’s by law professor Peter Schuck, who, if you imagine a spectrum of opinion on immigration from, say, me at one end and the the NYT editorial board on the other, could genuinely be said to be somewhere in the middle. Anyway, he defends the Secure Communities program (which checks with immigration when a suspect is fingerprinted by local cops or sheriff’s deputies); New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois recently announced their withdrawal from the program at the behest of the open-borders groups.
Schuck is correct in noting that “the real issue for Secure Communities is deportation priorities” — among all the arrested suspects identified as deportable by Secure Communities, which ones should limited resources be used to deport? The anti-enforcement side claims to support the deportation of dangerous criminals but says minor offenders (who are, remember, illegal aliens) should not be deported. They operate on an adapted version of Blackstone’s principle: better 10 foreign murderers are released back into America’s communities than one illegal alien pickpocket be deported.
In the end, all this fuss over whether states and localities will participate in Secure Communities is ridiculous; if they wanted to, the feds could tomorrow start checking all fingerprint information forwarded by the states against immigration databases (as they are already against FBI’s NCIC system). ICE could then sort through the results and decide which people they wanted to pick up for deportation (or prosecution). Any state that didn’t want to participate wouldn’t have to — but they wouldn’t have access to the FBI’s system either. As you can imagine, few politicians would last long if they denied their police access to the FBI database, which includes the National Sex Offender Registry, national list of stolen vehicles, etc. This is something the federal government just needs to do, without asking permission from left-wing governors and mayors.
One of the many reasons we need a new president.