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annoyed gromit

Another political rant...

This is just disturbing:

Operation Linebacker catches more immigrants than criminals

Now, I know quite few people seem to be in favor of "cracking down" on illegal immigrants, but really what I'm seeing is really going beyond what seems reasonable or right and it's particularly disheartening to see it being perpetrated by people who really should know better.

Take Operation Linebacker for instance. It's being heralded as part of the reason for a 60% drop in crime along the border this past year. Now that sounds good at first glance, but that's the funny thing about statistics. They don't always tell you the whole story. While I was reading the article a thought occurred to me. What are we using as proof that crime has dropped 60%? Aside from basing it on reported crimes, I really can't see how you could make that statement (e.g. only 400 crimes reported to law enforcement vs 1000 last year) except to base it on the number of crimes reported or perhaps the number of crimes that police are able to investigate and bring charges on.

However, if that's the case then there seems to be the potential for a very big problem. What if people with a questionable immigration status really aren't reporting crimes as much as they used to? I've grown up on the border and it was always my understanding that police officers and sheriffs/deputies actively avoided looking too closely at someone's immigration status because their concern was generally with catching people who did bad things to other people/property and it would seem obvious that if the community of people who are here illegally learns that law enforcement will look at their immigration status before looking at their complaint about a crime that was committed against them then they're much less likely to report those crimes.

While I'm sure some callous individuals would say "Great! less of a strain on our legal system!" I can't agree with them for one simple reason. IIRC, being in the US illegally is apparently comparable to a misdemeanor traffic violation. So, apparently the logic is that an illegal immigrant deserves less protection because they are actively committing a crime that has no incarceration penalty and comes with at most a fine of $250 (and deportation). I know quite a few people who have committed much worse crimes than that driving to work (anyone heard of felony speeding?). Heck, if you look at the FBI warning on most DVDs, piracy/copyright infringement can be a much heftier crime. Ultimately, a lot of us are probably guilty of crimes that are more serious than your average illegal immigrant.

Even so I'm sure some people still won't care that one group of people is exposed to crime because of their status as "illegals". However, I would argue that it is in our best interest as a society to see violent crimes like the ones that operation linebacker is supposed to address, assaults, fraud, blackmail, rape, child abuse, etc... prosecuted regardless of who the victim is. The argument that "Law enforcement is sworn to uphold laws. They don't pick and choose which laws to enforce." is laughable. Every time we've drive by a speed trap going 1 mile over the speed limit, we've benefited from selective enforcement of the law. The fact that law enforcement agencies actually have written warning slips is proof that they can choose when they do and when they don't enforce the law. No law enforcement officer is expected to catch every criminal and enforce every law every moment of the day. As a society we want them to focus on the more serious crimes and, for the time being at least, immigration isn't one of those crimes and quite frankly I don't think it ever should ever become a serious "crime"

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