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December 12, 2008

ACLU Wants Wall around DC

Joe Charlebois

Now the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stepped into the illegal immigrant fray. Why?


The ACLU has filed under the Maryland Public Information Act to have municipalities share any and all information regarding the way illegal immigrants are handled throughout the state under their newly established “Immigrant Rights Project.”


The objective of the ACLU is to keep any law enforcement agency outside of the federal government away from handling the enforcement of immigration laws. In essence they would like to build a 50-story wall between the federal government and the 50 states. Their stated focus of concern is aimed at programs such as Gaithersburg’s anti-loitering laws, Anne Arundel County’s use of local police to enforce federal immigration law regarding hiring practices of county contractors, and, of course, the Frederick County Sheriff’s office implementation of the 287(g) program.


The Frederick County Sherriff’s office is the state’s only partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in regards to the 287(g) program. This is a program that is provided for by federal statute to allow ICE to train local law enforcement to assist in processing illegal immigrants who had been arrested for other crimes.


Ajmel Quereshi, the ACLU’s Maryland newly appointed head of its Immigrant Rights Project, is concerned by the increase in laws targeting immigrants. Its website quotes Mr. Quereshi as saying: “Maryland’s immigrant community adds richness and diversity to our state’s social fabric and strength to its economy…Draconian measures which target immigrants not only tear away at immigrant families and communities, but hurt all members of society.”


I wonder if the ACLU, or Mr. Quereshi in particular, would still feel the same way if all local law enforcement pulled back from enforcing these laws and the federal government increased the size of ICE ten-fold and started to enforce these laws without any local aid. The ACLU, I am certain, would feel that measures taken to combat illegal immigration would still be just as “draconian.”


What concerns me is not that true legal immigrants have come to our state and have contributed to society and have prospered. It is the fact that millions of people are in the United States without proper documentation. There is no history of their legal records whether positive or negative. There is no medical history or examination. There is no test to see what benefit they would add to our society such as those all other immigrants have to prove prior to their arrival.


Now I hardly think that our state is targeting legal immigrants; rather parts of the state are simply attempting to limit the number of illegal immigrants within its borders. Our state has an extremely diverse population. In fact, if it hasn’t happened already, “non-whites” will outnumber whites in the very near future. We are very accepting of all in this state.


The fact that the State of Maryland and some of its communities desire to abide by the law should not make them the “bad guys,” but rather they should be looked up to as good citizens.


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