News

More Needless Deaths at the Hands of an Illegal Alien, and an Oregon Ballot Initiative

Center for Immigration Studies
Op-ed

Andrew Selsky of the Associated Press has written an article appearing in a number of newspapers titled "Crime by foreigners fuels sanctuary state debate in Oregon".

The lead-in to the story describes an Oregon couple traveling on their motorbike on the streets of Salem, the state capital, who were killed when an inebriated illegal alien from Mexico is purported to have crashed into them with the weight of a truck carrying a loaded horse trailer. Selsky goes on to tie the tragedy to an upcoming petition-driven ballot initiative to repeal the Oregon sanctuary law. He writes:

Advocates of Oregon's 1987 sanctuary law accuse its detractors of seizing upon criminals in the country illegally to push their case for supporting a repeal of the sanctuary state law.

Well, but that's the point, isn't it? Apparently enough voters in Oregon (hopefully a majority) know that sanctuary laws are designed to protect criminals by shielding them from the long reach of federal immigration authorities when it comes to filing detainers with police and sheriff's departments against aliens arrested for crimes.

Selsky goes on to cite sanctuary advocates this way:

Most immigrants are law-abiding, fill jobs that U.S. citizens often don't want, and contribute to society, they say.

I dispute pretty much everything in that sentence.

  1. Saying "immigrants are law-abiding" is a delicate little piece of obfuscation, because it mixes together legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. But they aren't all just crabs in a basket; there is a distinct difference between them, isn't there?
  2. As to the illegally present part of the "immigrants" basket, how do you describe as "law abiding" someone whose very existence in the United States is predicated upon an illegal act, and which must also of necessity include routine deceptions such as the use of false documents and identity theft in order to gain employment?
  3. "Fill[ing] jobs that Americans don't want" is hogwash. I've heard this time and again, yet when I look around every day, I see citizens and lawful residents working in a variety of hard or undesirable jobs in order to put food on the table: trash haulers, lawn maintenance workers, etc. In fact, the Center has recently published a report based on empirical data that explodes that myth: "There are no jobs Americans won't do".

Looking beyond the immediate tragedy, it's worth noting that at least 16 county sheriffs in Oregon have gone on record in favor of repeal of the sanctuary law. One suspects that other sheriffs also favor the measure but are silent for political reasons having to do with reelection bids.

Finally, it's worth noting that state and local sanctuary laws actually do nothing to protect your ordinary, run-of-the mill illegal aliens, the kind who aren't arrested by police. Federal agents are free anywhere in the land to take deportable aliens into custody from their workplaces or off the street when they are living or working illegally in the United States, and no sanctuary law can change that.

So, ironically, it's really only the criminals who are protected by such foolishness, as is evident from the most recent senseless killing of a husband and wife by a drunk illegal alien. This is why editorials such as that published by the Salem, Ore., Statesman Journal's editorial board prior to the tragedy, "Oregonians must reject effort to overturn sanctuary-state status", look so absurd and myopic. Here's a quick flavor of the overblown rhetoric it contains:

Oregonians must speak out against hatred no matter how it's attired. ... For more than three decades, Oregon has been known as a place where those threatened by violence and oppression are welcome ... don't be fooled by the ribbons and bows of this hateful and extreme action.

Really the only violence or oppression I'm seeing is that inflicted by alien criminals who victimize innocents on the streets of Oregon, undoubtedly including other "law abiding immigrants" who almost certainly would be delighted to see them plucked from their midst and not returned to their communities when sheriffs and police ignore immigration detainers.

It would be greatly refreshing to see common sense exercised by enough Oregonian voters in this important ballot initiative to spike the state sanctuary statute. Let us hope that the forces of reason prevail.

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