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Locals bodies can’t ignore, silence immigration pleas
Having despaired of any action at the federal level, a frustrated citizenry is turning to local and state governments more and more. Not to enact new law or do mass round-ups of those here illegally so much as to enforce current law.
Such appeals have been made to the Elgin City Council and the McHenry County Board in recent weeks( By the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp), not making them unique, but putting them in the company of many other boards and legislatures nationwide.
According to an Associated Press story by Robert Tanner, 59 new laws have passed in 27 different states to address the problem.
“It’s the blunt failure of any true leadership in Washington, D.C.,” Andy Anderson, a Palm Bay, Fla., city councilman told the AP. “Everything runs downhill.”
Elgin’s response to an appeal for more aggressive law enforcement from former Elgin School District U-46 board member Doug Heaton has been mostly a less-than-eloquent silence. The request to the McHenry County Board is too recent to be able to judge the response fairly.
But we would suggest all boards make every effort to listen, every effort to educate themselves and every effort to respond in some fashion. Why? Because while immigration policy is a national responsibility, the impacts of a failed policy are very local. That residents are turning to local boards is both a measure of the depth of the federal failure and the depth of frustration toward laws and policies that protect illegal immigrants while sending the crime, health care, car insurance and education bills to legal citizens.
The arrest of a three-time deportee in a fatal DUI brought focus to the issue in McHenry County. But what worries Fox Valley citizens more is that many illegal immigrants who commit crimes are never turned over to immigration officials.
The “we can’t do anything” or “this is a federal problem” arguments will not wash because they are not true, and those pushing for action know it. Section 133 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act of 1996 specifically provides that federal immigration officials cooperate with local law enforcement to enforce immigration law and provide training on request.
We understand local and state governments are frustrated that a spectacular federal failure has landed in their laps. But it wouldn’t be the first time local and state governments have solved problems the federal government could or would not. Effective welfare, education, health care and medical liability reform have all begun at the local or state levels, not the federal level.
No matter how much they may wish the problem away, elected public servants who refuse to listen or educate themselves on this issue will be failing legal citizens who are asking, within the prescribed political system, for legitimate aid.
Such a failure will only increase rising levels of frustration and do nothing to effect a solution.
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