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What Part Of The Word 'Illegal' Is Confusing To People In Hartford?
By Chris Powell Published on 8/10/2008

Hartford soon may join New Haven in becoming a "sanctuary city," a city where illegal aliens are sheltered against enforcement of immigration law.
New Haven lately has become famous for issuing city identification cards to illegal aliens, a practice undertaken in the name of encouraging them to cooperate with police investigating crime. But sanctuary in New Haven has been achieved less with the ID cards than with the city police department's policy, ordered by Mayor John DeStefano Jr., prohibiting officers from checking into people's citizenship and from helping federal agents serve civil immigration violation warrants - a policy of prohibiting city police from helping the feds apprehend violators of immigration law.
Hartford would accomplish sanctuary with an ordinance under consideration by the City Council to restrict the city's police as they are restricted in New Haven.
Having police check into people's citizenship during ordinary investigations of crime is bound to reduce the cooperation of illegal aliens. It also would be intrusive and prejudicial. For police would single out people who merely fit their stereotypes and people they wanted to harass.

But having police check the citizenship of arrested people is not at all intrusive or prejudicial, and such a practice, as it is being undertaken in certain places, as by ordinance in Virginia's Prince William County, does seem to have the benefit of driving illegal aliens away and thus achieving some enforcement of immigration law at least locally. For like everyone else, illegals settle most where they are welcomed. That is why New Haven is not really what it pretends to be, the helpless victim of the failure of federal immigration policy, and why the city's "sanctuary" policy is not necessary at all. For if New Haven's policy was closer to Prince William County's, or to the policy that may be undertaken in Danbury, with local police trained to enforce immigration law, the city might have many fewer illegal aliens in the first place.
Federal immigration authorities long have not cared to enforce the law in ordinary cases where local police have arrested an illegal alien on a local charge. The feds seem interested only in raiding what are believed to be the largest employers of illegal aliens, like the raid in May on a meatpacking plant in Iowa, where nearly 400 people were detained, and in staging an occasional community raid, like the one in June last year in New Haven's Fair Haven section, two days after the city began issuing the ID cards to illegals. Such raids seem meant largely to terrorize and to create the illusion of enforcement when, in fact, enforcement is almost completely lacking. Indeed, while New Haven's illegal population is growing and the city continues to issue IDs to illegals, the feds have not subpoenaed the ID program's records and seem not to have bothered with the city at all since the raid last summer.
But by denying the feds the local resources they ordinarily would have in any other law-enforcement action, municipal "sanctuary" policies only encourage the feds to pursue their scattershot and terror-inducing approach to immigration law.

In the old days local laws and policies contrary to national ones were defended with elaborate rationales as "nullification" and "interposition," and at least back then there was a claim, bogus and even hateful as it sometimes was, that the laws and policies being resisted were unconstitutional. Today's advocates of nullification and interposition do not argue that the federal government lacks authority over immigration. No, they simply disagree with national immigration policy and seek to use local government to undermine it - and, really, to undermine the nation itself, since, by definition, a nation is something that controls its borders.

Forbidding police from inquiring about citizenship when it has no relevance to the investigation of crime is one thing. Giving identification documents to people who are in the country illegally, precisely to facilitate their remaining in the country illegally, and refusing to cooperate with the national government's enforcement of immigration law are something else - subversive and treasonable.

With its daily murders, mayhem, and other incidents of depravity, Hartford is, like New Haven, already a lawless enough place. With a "sanctuary" ordinance implementing the policies in effect in New Haven, Hartford too would seem to signify that it wants to opt out of America when what those cities and so many other declining cities need most is to opt back in.

Chris Powell Is Managing Editor Of The Journal Inquirer In Manchester.

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