Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Immigration Program Pits U.S. Against Illinois - Chicago News Cooperative

Immigration Program Pits U.S. Against Illinois - Chicago News Cooperative

I have some basic ideas on the issue of immigration, but generally haven't entirely thought a whole lot about this issue. Except to say that I don't think it's unreasonable to document those people who are not citizens, to also expect some documention to say that this person is here legally, and especially send a person who has trouble with the law here in this country back to their own where ever they came from.

Of course I recognize that it isn't this simple. Hence the arguments back and forth:
Though Gov. Patrick Quinn last week made significant efforts to publicize Illinois’ withdrawal from the controversial Secure Communities program, federal immigration officials are continuing to recruit local law enforcement agencies to participate and insisting the program is mandatory even for states such as Illinois that do not want to participate.

Quinn’s defiance of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is being seen as a bellwether for other states and municipalities nationwide that oppose how ICE is carrying out the program. The federal Secure Communities program is meant to deport undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes but has in reality targeted mostly people with misdemeanor convictions or no criminal record, according to ICE statistics. Critics nationwide have said the program makes immigrants distrustful of law enforcement.

Even so, Quinn’s move may be largely symbolic since state officials have little power to force ICE to deactivate the program in Illinois, and Secure Communities basically expedites ICE obtaining information that the FBI can share regardless of whether Illinois approves.

The Chicago News Cooperative reported in March that ICE officials conducted a campaign to try to force Chicago and Cook County to participate in Secure Communities, despite city and county ordinances that prohibit local officers from enforcing the immigration law.

After Quinn formally declared Wednesday that Illinois will no longer participate, ICE director John Morton on Friday called at least one Illinois county sheriff seeking his continued participation. Lake County sheriff Mark Curran, who had spoken out against Secure Communities, said he told Morton he would consider continuing if ICE officials ensure only people convicted of serious crimes are deported.

“We will see if it can accomplish its intended goal which is to remove a dangerous element from society, not just out-of-status offenders,” Curran told the Chicago News Cooperative.
Like I said not that simple. They quoted a state legislator who just so happens to be related to a current powerful Chicago Alderman:
A bill passed by the state House on Friday would mandate that Secure Communities only target people convicted of serious crimes, and would give counties permission to opt out of the program. Southwest Side Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago), the lead sponsor, called it “outrageous” that counties are not allowed to withdraw from the program even after local, elected officials conclude they disapprove of it.

Local police officers object to the program, Burke said. “They made it perfectly clear this is counter to their ability to engage with their community, do their job, enforce the law, conduct investigations,” he said.
OK that makes sense to me.

Well we do need to enforce immigration laws that I can agree. What about the ones who are here to work in this country and aren't documented? I would say we need to cut them a degree of "slack". The ones who are always in trouble with the law well we definitely need to so something about them.

The main thing is doing what we can to insure that people aren't able to sneak into this nation. Whether or not they jump the border or they merely just are able to sneak into the nation in a cargo container.

One thing is for certain, I have a lot to learn about this immigration issue. I hope I wasn't proposing amnesty which certainly will cause belly aching amongst those who want to get tough on immigration.

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