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Illegal-Alien Crime Wave

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  • American Patriot
    http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_1_the_illegal_alien.html The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave Heather Mac Donald Some of the most violent criminals at large today
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2007
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      The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave
      Heather Mac Donald

      Some of the most violent criminals at large today are
      illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these
      aliens commit is highest, the police cannot use the
      most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration
      status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members
      of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back
      into town after having been deported for such crimes
      as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug
      trafficking. Police officers know who they are and
      know that their mere presence in the country is a
      felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger
      for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as
      a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s rule against
      enforcing immigration law.

      The LAPD’s ban on immigration enforcement mirrors bans
      in immigrant-saturated cities around the country, from
      New York and Chicago to San Diego, Austin, and
      Houston. These “sanctuary policies” generally prohibit
      city employees, including the cops, from reporting
      immigration violations to federal authorities.

      Such laws testify to the sheer political power of
      immigrant lobbies, a power so irresistible that police
      officials shrink from even mentioning the
      illegal-alien crime wave. “We can’t even talk about
      it,” says a frustrated LAPD captain. “People are
      afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.” Another LAPD
      commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested
      district sighs: “I would get a firestorm of criticism
      if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law
      against illegals].” Neither captain would speak for

      But however pernicious in themselves, sanctuary rules
      are a symptom of a much broader disease: the nation’s
      near-total loss of control over immigration policy.
      Fifty years ago, immigration policy might have driven
      immigration numbers, but today the numbers drive
      policy. The nonstop increase of immigration is
      reshaping the language and the law to dissolve any
      distinction between legal and illegal aliens and,
      ultimately, the very idea of national borders.

      It is a measure of how topsy-turvy the immigration
      environment has become that to ask police officials
      about the illegal-alien crime problem feels like a
      gross faux pas, not done in polite company. And a
      police official asked to violate this powerful taboo
      will give a strangled response—or, as in the case of a
      New York deputy commissioner, break off communication
      altogether. Meanwhile, millions of illegal aliens
      work, shop, travel, and commit crimes in plain view,
      utterly secure in their de facto immunity from the
      immigration law.

      I asked the Miami Police Department’s spokesman,
      Detective Delrish Moss, about his employer’s policy on
      lawbreaking illegals. In September, the force arrested
      a Honduran visa violator for seven vicious rapes. The
      previous year, Miami cops had had the suspect in
      custody for lewd and lascivious molestation, without
      checking his immigration status. Had they done so,
      they would have discovered his visa overstay, a
      deportable offense, and so could have forestalled the
      rapes. “We have shied away from unnecessary
      involvement dealing with immigration issues,” explains
      Moss, choosing his words carefully, “because of our
      large immigrant population.”

      Police commanders may not want to discuss, much less
      respond to, the illegal-alien crisis, but its
      magnitude for law enforcement is startling. Some

      • In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding
      warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500)
      target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all
      fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal

      • A confidential California Department of Justice
      study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the
      20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California
      is illegal; police officers say the proportion is
      actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborates
      with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in
      California prisons, on complex drug-distribution
      schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and
      commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A.
      County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last
      two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters,
      most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.

      • The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang,
      which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug
      market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60
      percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S.
      attorney Luis Li. Francisco Martinez, a Mexican Mafia
      member and an illegal alien, controlled the gang from
      prison, while serving time for felonious reentry
      following deportation.

      Good luck finding any reference to such facts in
      official crime analysis. The LAPD and the L.A. city
      attorney recently requested an injunction against drug
      trafficking in Hollywood, targeting the 18th Street
      Gang and the “non–gang members” who sell drugs in
      Hollywood for the gang. Those non–gang members are
      virtually all illegal Mexicans, smuggled into the
      country by a ring organized by 18th Street bigs. The
      Mexicans pay off their transportation debts to the
      gang by selling drugs; many soon realize how lucrative
      that line of work is and stay in the business.

      Cops and prosecutors universally know the immigration
      status of these non-gang “Hollywood dealers,” as the
      city attorney calls them, but the gang injunction is
      assiduously silent on the matter. And if a Hollywood
      officer were to arrest an illegal dealer (known on the
      street as a “border brother”) for his immigration
      status, or even notify the Immigration and
      Naturalization Service (since early 2003, absorbed
      into the new Department of Homeland Security), he
      would face severe discipline for violating Special
      Order 40, the city’s sanctuary policy.

      The ordinarily tough-as-nails former LAPD chief Daryl
      Gates enacted Special Order 40 in 1979—showing that
      even the most unapologetic law-and-order cop is no
      match for immigration advocates. The order prohibits
      officers from “initiating police action where the
      objective is to discover the alien status of a
      person”—in other words, the police may not even ask
      someone they have arrested about his immigration
      status until after they have filed criminal charges,
      nor may they arrest someone for immigration
      violations. They may not notify immigration
      authorities about an illegal alien picked up for minor
      violations. Only if they have already booked an
      illegal alien for a felony or for multiple
      misdemeanors may they inquire into his status or
      report him. The bottom line: a cordon sanitaire
      between local law enforcement and immigration
      authorities that creates a safe haven for illegal

      L.A.’s sanctuary law and all others like it contradict
      a key 1990s policing discovery: the Great Chain of
      Being in criminal behavior. Pick up a law-violator for
      a “minor” crime, and you might well prevent a major
      crime: enforcing graffiti and turnstile-jumping laws
      nabs you murderers and robbers. Enforcing known
      immigration violations, such as reentry following
      deportation, against known felons, would be even more
      productive. LAPD officers recognize illegal deported
      gang members all the time—flashing gang signs at court
      hearings for rival gangbangers, hanging out on the
      corner, or casing a target. These illegal returnees
      are, simply by being in the country after deportation,
      committing a felony (in contrast to garden-variety
      illegals on their first trip to the U.S., say, who are
      only committing a misdemeanor). “But if I see a
      deportee from the Mara Salvatrucha [Salvadoran prison]
      gang crossing the street, I know I can’t touch him,”
      laments a Los Angeles gang officer. Only if the
      deported felon has given the officer some other reason
      to stop him, such as an observed narcotics sale, can
      the cop accost him—but not for the immigration felony.

      Though such a policy puts the community at risk, the
      department’s top brass brush off such concerns. No big
      deal if you see deported gangbangers back on the
      streets, they say. Just put them under surveillance
      for “real” crimes and arrest them for those. But
      surveillance is very manpower-intensive. Where there
      is an immediate ground for getting a violent felon off
      the street and for questioning him further, it is
      absurd to demand that the woefully understaffed LAPD
      ignore it.

      The stated reasons for sanctuary policies are that
      they encourage illegal-alien crime victims and
      witnesses to cooperate with cops without fear of
      deportation, and that they encourage illegals to take
      advantage of city services like health care and
      education (to whose maintenance few illegals have
      contributed a single tax dollar, of course). There has
      never been any empirical verification that sanctuary
      laws actually accomplish these goals—and no one has
      ever suggested not enforcing drug laws, say, for fear
      of intimidating drug-using crime victims. But in any
      case, this official rationale could be honored by
      limiting police use of immigration laws to some subset
      of immigration violators: deported felons, say, or
      repeat criminal offenders whose immigration status
      police already know.

      The real reason cities prohibit their cops and other
      employees from immigration reporting and enforcement
      is, like nearly everything else in immigration policy,
      the numbers. The immigrant population has grown so
      large that public officials are terrified of
      alienating it, even at the expense of ignoring the law
      and tolerating violence. In 1996, a breathtaking Los
      Angeles Times exposé on the 18th Street Gang, which
      included descriptions of innocent bystanders being
      murdered by laughing cholos (gang members), revealed
      the rate of illegal-alien membership in the gang. In
      response to the public outcry, the Los Angeles City
      Council ordered the police to reexamine Special Order
      40. You would have thought it had suggested
      reconsidering Roe v. Wade. A police commander warned
      the council: “This is going to open a significant,
      heated debate.” City Councilwoman Laura Chick put on a
      brave front: “We mustn’t be afraid,” she declared

      But of course immigrant pandering trumped public
      safety. Law-abiding residents of gang-infested
      neighborhoods may live in terror of the tattooed
      gangbangers dealing drugs, spraying graffiti, and
      shooting up rivals outside their homes, but such
      anxiety can never equal a politician’s fear of
      offending Hispanics. At the start of the reexamination
      process, LAPD deputy chief John White had argued that
      allowing the department to work closely with the INS
      would give cops another tool for getting gang members
      off the streets. Trying to build a homicide case, say,
      against an illegal gang member is often futile, he
      explained, since witnesses fear deadly retaliation if
      they cooperate with the police. Enforcing an
      immigration violation would allow the cops to lock up
      the murderer right now, without putting a witness’s
      life at risk.

      But six months later, Deputy Chief White had changed
      his tune: “Any broadening of the policy gets us into
      the immigration business,” he asserted. “It’s a
      federal law-enforcement issue, not a local
      law-enforcement issue.” Interim police chief Bayan
      Lewis told the L.A. Police Commission: “It is not the
      time. It is not the day to look at Special Order 40.”

      Nor will it ever be, as long as immigration numbers
      continue to grow. After their brief moment of truth in
      1996, Los Angeles politicians have only grown more
      adamant in defense of Special Order 40. After learning
      that cops in the scandal-plagued Rampart Division had
      cooperated with the INS to try to uproot murderous
      gang members from the community, local politicians
      threw a fit, criticizing district commanders for even
      allowing INS agents into their station houses. In
      turn, the LAPD strictly disciplined the offending
      officers. By now, big-city police chiefs are
      unfortunately just as determined to defend sanctuary
      policies as the politicians who appoint them; not so
      the rank and file, however, who see daily the benefit
      that an immigration tool would bring.

      Immigration politics have similarly harmed New York.
      Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani sued all the way up to
      the Supreme Court to defend the city’s sanctuary
      policy against a 1996 federal law decreeing that
      cities could not prohibit their employees from
      cooperating with the INS. Oh yeah? said Giuliani; just
      watch me. The INS, he claimed, with what turned out to
      be grotesque irony, only aims to “terrorize people.”
      Though he lost in court, he remained defiant to the
      end. On September 5, 2001, his handpicked
      charter-revision committee ruled that New York could
      still require that its employees keep immigration
      information confidential to preserve trust between
      immigrants and government. Six days later, several
      visa-overstayers participated in the most devastating
      attack on the city and the country in history.

      New York conveniently forgot the 1996 federal ban on
      sanctuary laws until a gang of five Mexicans—four of
      them illegal—abducted and brutally raped a 42-year-old
      mother of two near some railroad tracks in Queens. The
      NYPD had already arrested three of the illegal aliens
      numerous times for such crimes as assault, attempted
      robbery, criminal trespass, illegal gun possession,
      and drug offenses. The department had never notified
      the INS.

      Citizen outrage forced Mayor Michael Bloomberg to
      revisit the city’s sanctuary decree yet again. In May
      2003, Bloomberg tweaked the policy minimally to allow
      city staffers to inquire into immigration status only
      if it is relevant to the awarding of a government
      benefit. Though Bloomberg’s new rule said nothing
      about reporting immigration violations to federal
      officials, advocates immediately claimed that it did
      allow such reporting, and the ethnic lobbies went
      ballistic. “What we’re seeing is the erosion of
      people’s rights,” thundered Angelo Falcon of the
      Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. After
      three months of intense agitation by immigrant groups,
      Bloomberg replaced this innocuous “don’t ask” policy
      with a “don’t tell” rule even broader than Gotham’s
      original sanctuary policy. The new rule prohibits city
      employees from giving other government officials
      information not just about immigration status but
      about tax payments, sexual orientation, welfare
      status, and other matters.

      But even were immigrant-saturated cities to discard
      their sanctuary policies and start enforcing
      immigration violations where public safety demands it,
      the resource-starved immigration authorities couldn’t
      handle the overwhelming additional workload.

      The chronic shortage of manpower to oversee, and
      detention space to house, aliens as they await their
      deportation hearings (or, following an order of
      removal from a federal judge, their actual
      deportation) has forced immigration officials to
      practice a constant triage. Long ago, the feds stopped
      trying to find and deport aliens who had “merely”
      entered the country illegally through stealth or
      fraudulent documents. Currently, the only types of
      illegal aliens who run any risk of catching federal
      attention are those who have been convicted of an
      “aggravated felony” (a particularly egregious crime)
      or who have been deported following conviction for an
      aggravated felony and who have reentered (an offense
      punishable with 20 years in jail).

      That triage has been going on for a long time, as
      former INS investigator Mike Cutler, who worked with
      the NYPD catching Brooklyn drug dealers in the 1970s,
      explains. “If you arrested someone you wanted to
      detain, you’d go to your boss and start a bidding
      war,” Cutler recalls. “You’d say: 'My guy ran three
      blocks, threw a couple of punches, and had six pieces
      of ID.' The boss would turn to another agent: 'Next!
      Whaddid your guy do?' 'He ran 18 blocks, pushed over
      an old lady, and had a gun.' ” But such one-upmanship
      was usually fruitless. “Without the jail space,”
      explains Cutler, “it was like the Fish and Wildlife
      Service; you’d tag their ear and let them go.”

      But even when immigration officials actually arrest
      someone, and even if a judge issues a final
      deportation order (usually after years of litigation
      and appeals), they rarely have the manpower to put the
      alien on a bus or plane and take him across the
      border. Second alternative: detain him pending
      removal. Again, inadequate space and staff. In the
      early 1990s, for example, 15 INS officers were in
      charge of the deportation of approximately 85,000
      aliens (not all of them criminals) in New York City.
      The agency’s actual response to final orders of
      removal was what is known as a “run letter”—a notice
      asking the deportable alien kindly to show up in a
      month or two to be deported, when the agency might be
      able to process him. Results: in 2001, 87 percent of
      deportable aliens who received run letters
      disappeared, a number that was even higher—94
      percent—if they were from terror-sponsoring countries.

      To other law-enforcement agencies, the feds’ triage
      often looks like complete indifference to immigration
      violations. Testifying to Congress about the Queens
      rape by illegal Mexicans, New York’s criminal justice
      coordinator defended the city’s failure to notify the
      INS after the rapists’ previous arrests on the ground
      that the agency wouldn’t have responded anyway. “We
      have time and time again been unable to reach INS on
      the phone,” John Feinblatt said last February. “When
      we reach them on the phone, they require that we write
      a letter. When we write a letter, they require that it
      be by a superior.”

      Criminal aliens also interpret the triage as
      indifference. John Mullaly a former NYPD homicide
      detective, estimates that 70 percent of the drug
      dealers and other criminals in Manhattan’s Washington
      Heights were illegal. Were Mullaly to threaten an
      illegal-alien thug in custody that his next stop would
      be El Salvador unless he cooperated, the criminal
      would just laugh, knowing that the INS would never
      show up. The message could not be clearer: this is a
      culture that can’t enforce its most basic law of
      entry. If policing’s broken-windows theory is correct,
      the failure to enforce one set of rules breeds overall
      contempt for the law.

      The sheer number of criminal aliens overwhelmed an
      innovative program that would allow immigration
      officials to complete deportation hearings while a
      criminal was still in state or federal prison, so that
      upon his release he could be immediately ejected
      without taking up precious INS detention space. But
      the process, begun in 1988, immediately bogged down
      due to the numbers—in 2000, for example, nearly 30
      percent of federal prisoners were foreign-born. The
      agency couldn’t find enough pro bono attorneys to
      represent such an army of criminal aliens (who have
      extensive due-process rights in contesting
      deportation) and so would have to request delay after
      delay. Or enough immigration judges would not be
      available. In 1997, the INS simply had no record of a
      whopping 36 percent of foreign-born inmates who had
      been released from federal and four state prisons
      without any review of their deportability. They
      included 1,198 aggravated felons, 80 of whom were soon
      re-arrested for new crimes.

      Resource starvation is not the only reason for federal
      inaction. The INS was a creature of immigration
      politics, and INS district directors came under great
      pressure from local politicians to divert scarce
      resources into distribution of such “benefits” as
      permanent residency, citizenship, and work permits,
      and away from criminal or other investigations. In the
      late 1980s, for example, the INS refused to join an
      FBI task force against Haitian drug trafficking in
      Miami, fearing criticism for “Haitian-bashing.” In
      1997, after Hispanic activists protested a
      much-publicized raid that netted nearly two dozen
      illegals, the Border Patrol said that it would no
      longer join Simi Valley, California, probation
      officers on home searches of illegal-alien-dominated

      The disastrous Citizenship USA project of 1996 was a
      luminous case of politics driving the INS to sacrifice
      enforcement to “benefits.” When, in the early 1990s,
      the prospect of welfare reform drove immigrants to
      apply for citizenship in record numbers to preserve
      their welfare eligibility, the Clinton administration,
      seeing a political bonanza in hundreds of thousands of
      new welfare-dependent citizens, ordered the
      naturalization process radically expedited. Thanks to
      relentless administration pressure, processing errors
      in 1996 were 99 percent in New York and 90 percent in
      Los Angeles, and tens of thousands of aliens with
      criminal records, including for murder and armed
      robbery, were naturalized.

      Another powerful political force, the immigration bar
      association, has won from Congress an elaborate set of
      due-process rights for criminal aliens that can keep
      them in the country indefinitely. Federal probation
      officers in Brooklyn are supervising two illegals—a
      Jordanian and an Egyptian with Saudi citizenship—who
      look “ready to blow up the Statue of Liberty,”
      according to a probation official, but the officers
      can’t get rid of them. The Jordanian had been caught
      fencing stolen Social Security and tax-refund checks;
      now he sells phone cards, which he uses himself to
      make untraceable calls. The Saudi’s offense: using a
      fraudulent Social Security number to get employment—a
      puzzlingly unnecessary scam, since he receives large
      sums from the Middle East, including from millionaire
      relatives. But intelligence links him to terrorism, so
      presumably he worked in order not to draw attention to
      himself. Currently, he changes his cell phone every
      month. Ordinarily such a minor offense would not be
      prosecuted, but the government, fearing that he had
      terrorist intentions, used whatever it had to put him
      in prison.

      Now, probation officers desperately want to see the
      duo out of the country, but the two ex-cons have hired
      lawyers, who are relentlessly fighting their
      deportation. “Due process allows you to stay for years
      without an adjudication,” says a probation officer in
      frustration. “A regular immigration attorney can keep
      you in the country for three years, a high-priced one
      for ten.” In the meantime, Brooklyn probation
      officials are watching the bridges.

      Even where immigration officials successfully nab and
      deport criminal aliens, the reality, says a former
      federal gang prosecutor, is that “they all come back.
      They can’t make it in Mexico.” The tens of thousands
      of illegal farmworkers and dishwashers who overpower
      U.S. border controls every year carry in their wake
      thousands of brutal assailants and terrorists who use
      the same smuggling industry and who benefit from the
      same irresistible odds: there are so many more of them
      than the Border Patrol.

      For, of course, the government’s inability to keep out
      criminal aliens is part and parcel of its inability to
      patrol the border, period. For decades, the INS had as
      much effect on the migration of millions of illegals
      as a can tied to the tail of a tiger. And the
      immigrants themselves, despite the press cliché of
      hapless aliens living fearfully in the shadows, seemed
      to regard immigration authorities with all the concern
      of an elephant for a flea.

      Certainly fear of immigration officers is not in
      evidence among the hundreds of illegal day laborers
      who hang out on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, New York,
      in front of money wire services, travel agencies,
      immigration-attorney offices, and phone arcades, all
      catering to the local Hispanic population (as well as
      to drug dealers and terrorists). “There is no chance
      of getting caught,” cheerfully explains Rafael, an
      Ecuadoran. Like the dozen Ecuadorans and Mexicans on
      his particular corner, Rafael is hoping that an SUV
      seeking carpenters for $100 a day will show up soon.
      “We don’t worry, because we’re not doing anything
      wrong. I know it’s illegal; I need the papers, but
      here, nobody asks you for papers.”

      Even the newly fortified Mexican border, the one spot
      where the government really tries to prevent illegal
      immigration, looms as only a minor inconvenience to
      the day laborers. The odds, they realize, are
      overwhelmingly in their favor. Miguel, a reserved
      young carpenter, crossed the border at Tijuana three
      years ago with 15 others. Border Patrol spotted them,
      but with six officers to 16 illegals, only five got
      caught. In illegal border crossings, you get what you
      pay for, Miguel says. If you try to shave on the fee,
      the coyotes will abandon you at the first problem.
      Miguel’s wife was flying into New York from Los
      Angeles that very day; it had cost him $2,200 to get
      her across the border. “Because I pay, I don’t worry,”
      he says complacently.

      The only way to dampen illegal immigration and its
      attendant train of criminals and terrorists—short of
      an economic revolution in the sending countries or an
      impregnably militarized border—is to remove the jobs
      magnet. As long as migrants know they can easily get
      work, they will find ways to evade border controls.
      But enforcing laws against illegal labor is among
      government’s lowest priorities. In 2001, only 124
      agents nationwide were trying to find and prosecute
      the hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of
      illegal aliens who violate the employment laws, the
      Associated Press reports.

      Even were immigration officials to devote adequate
      resources to worksite investigations, not much would
      change, because their legal weapons are so weak.
      That’s no accident: though it is a crime to hire
      illegal aliens, a coalition of libertarians, business
      lobbies, and left-wing advocates has consistently
      blocked the fraud-proof form of work authorization
      necessary to enforce that ban. Libertarians have
      erupted in hysteria at such proposals as a toll-free
      number to the Social Security Administration for
      employers to confirm Social Security numbers.
      Hispanics warn just as stridently that helping
      employers verify work eligibility would result in
      discrimination against Hispanics—implicitly conceding
      that vast numbers of Hispanics work illegally.

      The result: hiring practices in
      illegal-immigrant-saturated industries are a charade.
      Millions of illegal workers pretend to present valid
      documents, and thousands of employers pretend to
      believe them. The law doesn’t require the employer to
      verify that a worker is actually qualified to work,
      and as long as the proffered documents are not
      patently phony—scrawled with red crayon on a
      matchbook, say—the employer will nearly always be
      exempt from liability merely by having eyeballed them.
      To find an employer guilty of violating the ban on
      hiring illegal aliens, immigration authorities must
      prove that he knew he was getting fake papers—an
      almost insurmountable burden. Meanwhile, the market
      for counterfeit documents has exploded: in one month
      alone in 1998, immigration authorities seized nearly 2
      million of them in Los Angeles, destined for immigrant
      workers, welfare seekers, criminals, and terrorists.

      For illegal workers and employers, there is no
      downside to the employment charade. If immigration
      officials ever do try to conduct an industry-wide
      investigation—which will at least net the illegal
      employees, if not the employers—local congressmen will
      almost certainly head it off. An INS inquiry into the
      Vidalia-onion industry in Georgia was not only aborted
      by Georgia’s congressional delegation; it actually
      resulted in a local amnesty for the growers’ illegal
      workforce. The downside to complying with the spirit
      of the employment law, on the other hand, is
      considerable. Ethnic advocacy groups are ready to
      picket employers who dismiss illegal workers, and
      employers understandably fear being undercut by less
      scrupulous competitors.

      Of the incalculable changes in American politics,
      demographics, and culture that the continuing surge of
      migrants is causing, one of the most profound is the
      breakdown of the distinction between legal and illegal
      entry. Everywhere, illegal aliens receive free public
      education and free medical care at taxpayer expense;
      13 states offer them driver’s licenses. States
      everywhere have been pushed to grant illegal aliens
      college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition. One
      hundred banks, over 800 law-enforcement agencies, and
      dozens of cities accept an identification card created
      by Mexico to credentialize illegal Mexican aliens in
      the U.S. The Bush administration has given its
      blessing to this matricula consular card, over the
      strong protest of the FBI, which warns that the gaping
      security loopholes that the card creates make it a
      boon to money launderers, immigrant smugglers, and
      terrorists. Border authorities have already caught an
      Iranian man sneaking across the border this year,
      Mexican matricula card in hand.

      Hispanic advocates have helped blur the distinction
      between a legal and an illegal resident by asserting
      that differentiating the two is an act of irrational
      bigotry. Arrests of illegal aliens inside the border
      now inevitably spark protests, often led by the
      Mexican government, that feature signs calling for “no
      más racismo.” Immigrant advocates use the language of
      “human rights” to appeal to an authority higher than
      such trivia as citizenship laws. They attack the term
      “amnesty” for implicitly acknowledging the validity of
      borders. Indeed, grouses Illinois congressman Luis
      Gutierrez, “There’s an implication that somehow you
      did something wrong and you need to be forgiven.”

      Illegal aliens and their advocates speak loudly about
      what they think the U.S. owes them, not vice versa. “I
      believe they have a right . . . to work, to drive
      their kids to school,” said California assemblywoman
      Sarah Reyes. An immigration agent says that people he
      stops “get in your face about their rights, because
      our failure to enforce the law emboldens them.” Taking
      this idea to its extreme, Joaquín Avila, a UCLA
      Chicano studies professor and law lecturer, argues
      that to deny non-citizens the vote, especially in the
      many California cities where they constitute the
      majority, is a form of apartheid.

      Yet no poll has ever shown that Americans want more
      open borders. Quite the reverse. By a huge majority—at
      least 60 percent—they want to rein in immigration, and
      they endorse an observation that Senator Alan Simpson
      made 20 years ago: Americans “are fed up with efforts
      to make them feel that [they] do not have that
      fundamental right of any people—to decide who will
      join them and help form the future country in which
      they and their posterity will live.” But if the
      elites’ and the advocates’ idea of giving voting
      rights to non-citizen majorities catches on—and don’t
      be surprised if it does—Americans could be faced with
      the ultimate absurdity of people outside the social
      compact making rules for those inside it.

      However the nation ultimately decides to rationalize
      its chaotic and incoherent immigration system, surely
      all can agree that, at a minimum, authorities should
      expel illegal-alien criminals swiftly. Even on the
      grounds of protecting non-criminal illegal immigrants,
      we should start by junking sanctuary policies. By
      stripping cops of what may be their only immediate
      tool to remove felons from the community, these
      policies leave law-abiding immigrants prey to crime.

      But the non-enforcement of immigration laws in general
      has an even more destructive effect. In many immigrant
      communities, assimilation into gangs seems to be
      outstripping assimilation into civic culture. Toddlers
      are learning to flash gang signals and hate the
      police, reports the Los Angeles Times. In New York
      City, “every high school has its Mexican gang,” and
      most 12- to 14-year-olds have already joined, claims
      Ernesto Vega, an illegal 18-year-old Mexican. Such
      pathologies only worsen when the first lesson that
      immigrants learn about U.S. law is that Americans
      don’t bother to enforce it. “Institutionalizing
      illegal immigration creates a mindset in people that
      anything goes in the U.S.,” observes Patrick Ortega,
      the news and public-affairs director of Radio Nueva
      Vida in southern California. “It creates a new
      subculture, with a sequela of social ills.” It is
      broken windows writ large.

      For the sake of immigrants and native-born Americans
      alike, it’s time to decide what our immigration policy
      is—and enforce it.

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