30 Nov 2008

Immigration enforcement up in NJ

Posted by Deborah

I try not to post my work on this blog since there’s already a newspaper site to do that for me. But this is one story I thought might be of interest to some of my friends who have no reason to visit The Courier-Post Web site. There are also two sidebars that go with the story – links are on the right side of the page.

I’m always amazed at how strongly people react to stories about illegal immigration (see the 30 plus comments on this story.) I’d be outraged too if a rapist – whether legal, illegal, a minor or whatever – got out on a bail and committed another violent crime. But I certainly don’t have the same reaction to someone who gets caught for speeding and sent home to Mexico for unpaid traffic tickets. Yes, this guy – the main example in my story – should’ve paid his tickets in the first place and he might have never been in this situation. That said, I don’t think his actions make him a horrible criminal. How many US citizens have done the same thing?

I know that isn’t an entirely fair comparison because illegal immigrants have already broken the law by entering the country without permission. I’m not going to argue that illegal immigration shouldn’t be considered a violation of civil law. The question is how it should be addressed, and I have a lot of conflicting opinions on that. I just wanted to point out that I don’t think people realize how difficult it can be to follow the law when you’re living in fear that any interaction with police could lead to deportation. In some cases, illegal immigrants can’t follow the law even if they want to. They can’t get US identification, which means they often can’t get car insurance or registration for that matter. How many of those “crimes” can they commit before officials label them a criminal who must be sent home?

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