"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another local Community taking a stand

If this keeps up, who needs the Feds?

Cross posted from Morning Coffee:

Elgin Illinoisis city about 40 miles North West of Chicago, has a population of a little over 100,000, and it's high school can include 5 Navy Admirals, a Nobel Prize winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a tony award winner, two men who produced academy award winning films, and a General Motors CEO among its alumni. The city is known for its historic architecture and landmarks from the Victorian era, including some fine examples of homes in the Queen Anne style. It is also home to Doug Heaton, and Doug Heaton is mad. The last time he got mad he got elected.

From the Daily Herald

Problems with communication led him to run in 1995 and win a seat on the Elgin Area School District U-46 board.

The 51-year-old Elgin resident now insists his recent appearances before the Elgin City Council demanding police do a better job enforcing immigration laws have nothing to do with politics.

Heaton said it has everything to do with finding answers he believes are long overdue.

This time, a series of news stories slowly ignited his activism. The story that propelled him to action was about Patricia Henneken, 28, who was killed at Golf and Barrington roads when, police say, Javier Rico, driving drunk, ran a red light and slammed into her — even though Rico, an illegal immigrant, had three previous DUI encounters with police.

How could an illegal immigrant with a history of drunken driving still be in this country, Heaton wondered.

"I felt that people aren't standing up and we're not saying, `Wait a minute, this isn't right,'æ" he said. "Silence implies approval, and I don't want that to happen."

He has since become a member of the Illinois Minuteman Project, which has created a binder of ways local police departments can enforce existing laws and provided examples of how other police departments have taken action.

He wants police to:

  • Get training in fraudulent document detection and enforcement of fake ID laws;
  • Request a valid passport when a Mexican driver's license is presented;
  • Use the Law Enforcement Support Center of the Department of Homeland Security;
  • Assist and notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when an illegal immigrant is in custody; and
  • Begin training police to be deputy immigration officers as provided for under Section 287(g) of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

These suggestions posed to the Elgin City Council in June may soon spread throughout the suburbs. Minuteman members already have approached the McHenry County Board with similar questions.

Elgin Police Chief Lisa Womack on Wednesday will give the city council an overview of how police now handle illegal immigrants.

"Many of the things Mr. Heaton wants us to do we're already doing," Womack said.

Womack said officers rarely see Mexican driver's licenses, but know to ask for passports if one is presented.

"To simply ask someone if they are a legal citizen just because they look Hispanic would fall under the purview of racial profiling," she said. "And we stop people that don't have their license with them all the time, could you prove you are a legal citizen right now?"

Womack said police pursue the immigration status of those arrested on serious charges.

"We're not ignoring this issue," she said. "We work closely with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and provide information. They have priorities of following up."

But Heaton said he believes local police can do more.

He points to how Ipswich, N.H., Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain arrested an illegal immigrant for being in the country by charging him with criminal trespassing. But what's right for one community may not be right for all, said City Manager Femi Folarin.

"Elgin is not just folding our arms and saying, `Gee, that person is illegal and we're not going to do anything about it,'æ" Folarin said. "But we can't keep that person in Elgin forever. If we're calling immigration and they're not interested in picking up that person, what's the point?"

Every time that happens, the city should demand federal authorities sign off on its refusal to pick up an illegal immigrant, Heaton said.

For now, he is happy to hear the chief will formally address the points he said have been ignored since June.

"I'm certainly no expert in law enforcement and I'm sure they figure I'm just a rabble rouser," he said. "But I think I've raised some points that need to be considered."

Mr Heaton is absolutely correct and brings up points that need to be addressed. Local and state officials have every authority to more strictly enforce immigration laws and the responsibility to their constituents to do so. Communities like Hazelton Pa. as well as states like Georgia, and Colorado are doing just that. Since it appears that any legislation that Congress will come up with will likely only worsen the illegal immigration problem insisting our local and stat officials live up to their responsibilities is more important now than ever before.

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let me know at what level you would like to participate.**


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