Atlanta the next to OK 'sanctuary' for illegal aliens?
In today's Los Angeles, when a police officer sees a gang member on the street who is in our nation illegally, a 1979 city directive prevents him from apprehending that illegal alien because of his immigration status alone - even if he has knowledge that the subject has been previously deported because of a violent crime. And even though it is a felony to re-enter the U.S. after deportation.
Manhattan Institute fellow Heather MacDonald reports that in Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide are for illegal aliens and as of January 2004, there were more than 1,200 such warrants.
Similar policies that prohibit or do not require law enforcement officers to report to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE - formerly the INS) the presence of known felonious illegal aliens are in place in Houston, Chicago, San Francisco and other American cities. Such regulations are generally known as "Sanctuary laws" and demonstrate the growing power of the Mexican government and the well-funded illegal alien lobby in our nation.
In Los Angeles, that sanctuary rule is known as "Special Order 40." Despite being prohibited under the Immigration Reform Act of 1996, it is a policy that is strictly enforced. So much for the rule of law.
Gangs that were previously known mainly in California, such as "Mara Salvatrucha" and the "18th Street Gang" now represent a serious and growing problem in the metro Atlanta area and the Southeast. Officials report that the majority of these gang members are in our nation illegally, many with previous records of violent crimes.
The alarming increase in the number of gangs and the crimes they commit here is a direct result of our encouraging and assisting what Georgia state Sen. Sam Zamarripa (D-DeKalb) evasively labels as "immigrants" with "incomplete documentation" to settle in our region by rewarding them with special treatment.
In today's Georgia, Atlanta policy affects the entire state. It is therefore important to know that in May 2004, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin approved an agreement with the government of Mexico that recognizes the Mexican Consulate-issued Matricula Consular ID as valid for city business and services. Illegal aliens are the only ones with a need for that easily forged and obtained ID (ask to see one of my three.) The process of that approval lasted more than a year, during which time there was little - if any - information made available to the public.
Mayor Franklin remarked on a local call-in radio show in December that she did so "on advice of her police chief" and that she felt it was "a help." One wonders to whom.
In December, Congress quietly failed to provide funding for the border security provisions it approved in the Intelligence Bill. It further refused to keep the strongest recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that would have aided in U.S. interior security by standardizing driver's licenses and adapting more efficient deportation procedures. The topic may be reconsidered in the 109th Congress to begin in January, we are told.
Meanwhile, thousands of desperate people cross our intentionally unsecured borders every day with full knowledge that many of the laws Americans are expected to obey in America do not apply to them. For many, their destination is Georgia and the Atlanta area.
If you build it, they will come.
To most of us, it is clear that if we are to defend the rule of law and our children's future America, an effort at immigration-law enforcement must begin at home, on the state and local level.
If you tear it down, they will leave.
In today's Atlanta, the mayor is openly encouraging lawbreakers "just looking for a better life" to come and remain here. It does not seem unreasonable for Georgians to wonder if the City of Atlanta is considering the implementation of a Special Order 40-type "sanctuary law" for its police force - or if one is already in place.
For those of us who do not want "Georgiafornia" - say it ain't so, Madam Mayor.
D.A. King of Marietta is founder of The American Resistance Foundation, a nationwide coalition of citizens that actively opposes illegal immigration.