Off-Peak Immigration Series

It’s been over a year since I resigned my job enforcing US law, and I’m ready to break my silence. I’ve commented here and there on the whole immigration debate, but I haven’t put my thoughts down in ASCI.

This series discusses several Republican proposals and explains why they’re bat scat crazy. It discusses why amnesty is a bad idea and driver’s licenses are good. I’ll propose a revenue-neutral policy for decreasing the number of people living outside the law.

(a) Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants
(b) The Perfect ID Card
(c) Round `em All Up
(d) Make it a Felony

Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants
Ok. So we’ve all heard that illegal immigrants shouldn’t get driver’s licenses. That’s the law in California, and I’m sure it is elsewhere. This is dumb.

You’re driving down the 405, coming up on John Wayne Airport, when five lanes of traffic turn red and stop dead. You slam on your breaks. At that moment, is it more important that the guy behind you has insurance, or that he hid in the trunk of a car returning from Tijuana?

If you can’t get a driver’s license, you can’t get insurance. Let illegal immigrants buy car insurance. Let everyone buy car insurance. That’s the end of the issue for me.

If you want traffic stops to arrest people who drive without insurance, that’s your business: “You must report to the police station with working papers within 14 days. If you want your car back, bring insurance.”

The Perfect ID Card
Once upon a time, one of our states decided to issue an anti-fraud driver’s license. The hologram was supposed to be in color but it was decided it wasn’t worth the cost so they went with two-tone. The specs had already fallen into the hands of counterfeiters, and no one told them about the changes to the order. So long before the state’s new ID card came out, the black market produced the more expensive version.

I’ve seen bogus green cards and visas produced from around the world. Some are immediately obvious; others require other means to detect. I’m not aware of any perfect fakes, but you wouldn’t be, would you?

Most Americans have worse ID than illegal immigrants. So, you have a letter from a notary that says you told him you’re a citizen. Is that supposed to mean something? I’m certain he would sign one saying I told him I’m a carrot. Birth certificates, are you serious? Take a look at yours. Chances are I could counterfeit it at Kinkos.

Clearly it’s time to start fingerprinting babies and arresting people claiming to be US citizens

One more thing about giving illegals drivers licenses: it makes enforcment a piece of cake. While no immigration officer will accept a drivers license as proof of citizenship or legal residence, it is defacto proof of residence. If a CBP officer opens up a suitcase of someone claiming to be on vacation and finds a drivers license it’s considered documentary evidence of a couple immigration violations: receiving public benefit and establishing residence without authorization. If I wanted to prove someone was living illegally in the US, and had a choice between a paystub and a drivers license, I’d choose a drivers license every time.

Round `em All Up
What exactly does it mean to “round up” 12 million people? Visualize a city of 12 million people being deported. What does that look like? How many police do you need to accomplish that? How much would it cost? I don’t know, but I’m sure door-to-door searches are required and that’s not my deal. I can think of other things rather do with our money.

There is that secondary problem of how families will react when cops start “rounding `em up”. Consider, Private Mendoza, returning from his third tour in Iraq. He’s still in a Falluja-mindset when he walks in the front door and finds his little sister in tears because his mother and father have jailed for not having papers. At that point the question becomes not if we’ve brought any unstable warriors home from war, but how many we’ve sent around the bend by messing with their families and how they’re going to react.

ICE is currently focusing on “rounding the (supposed) 100,000 “criminal aliens” presently in the United States, and I can’t say I really blame them. A criminal alien is someone who’s committed an aggravated felony and served time, not your run-of-the-mill illegal alien. Examples of criminal aliens include convicted murderers, robbers, rapists, gang bangers and fraudsters. You can’t qualify for this class of alienage by just working without papers.

Make it a Felony
The House of Representatives thinks it’s a good idea to make being an illegal immigrant a felony. However you arrest them, the goal of this proposal is to charge, convict in a criminal court (with a jury) and incarcerate 12 million people for at least one year. Assume each prison has a mammoth 5000 person capacity. To accomplish your goal you would need 100 prisons for 24 years, or 24 prisons for 100 years. It would take over 300 prisons to be accomplished by a two terms of a president. Assume each prisoner costs the US tax-payer $20,000 per year. That’s a $15 billion bond ($7b interest) or $800 per US resident. Of course, we have to build the prisons too, so $15B is probably a low-ball estimate.

I just know that I’m going to pay for someone’s tax relief, so for $800 do I at least get a video from the person I put in prison?

If what the advocates intend is for the Department of Justice to have the power to arrest, charge, convict and deport someone without the inconvenience of either jail or a jury, I’ve got good news for them:

The law doesn’t need to be changed.