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Monday, March 20, 2006

House passes anti-immigrant bill

Today, the House passed a bill that prevents cities from passing so-called sanctuary ordinances: those ordinances that prevent law enforcement officers from asking people about their immigration status without cause. In this state, only Minneapolis and Saint Paul have these ordinances, which have been passed to allow immigrants to feel more secure when dealing with the police.

In a perfect world, passing such a law wouldn't necessarily be a problem; in fact, there would be no need for sanctuary ordinances in the first place. But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where undocumented immigrants are exploited by employers, partners, spouses, or other people. We live in a world where the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau is woefully understaffed and constantly backlogged, leading to immigration status issues that are no fault of the immigrants themselves. We live in a world where immigration law itself makes little sense.

I don't know what reasons Republican Jim Knoblach had for bringing this bill forward. Maybe it is 100% an issue of security, like he says. But for some supporters of this bill, I find that hard to believe; instead, I think it may have something to do with the stereotype of "illegal immigrants" being brown-skinned people who just swam across the Rio Grande. You can't ignore that aspect of it.

In the end, this bill will only harm our communities. When an immigrant sees a drug dealer down the street or has information on a robbery suspect, he or she will be less likely to go to the police with this information. That means everybody will be more likely to be a victim of crime, immigrant or natural-born U.S. citizen. Is that justice? Not in my book.


At 4:37 PM, March 21, 2006, Anonymous Chris said...

KNOBLACH: "Beyond that, I have a bill that I will be introducing that is already drafted, that says that cities like Minneapolis, who currently forbid their law enforcement authorities from turning illegal immigrants they find over to the INS, can no longer do that. One of the things that has always frustrated me as a legislator, it seems crazy to me to pass laws if you have no intention of enforcing them. I think we should be enforcing our laws."
--November 12, 2005.

Has anyone asked him his views about domestic wiretapping?

Anyhoo, this bill is pretty obviously about trying to out-wingnut Michele Bachmann before the convention. Which he'll fail at anyway. But hey, beating up on two conservative boogey-men, brown-skinned people and Minneapolis, can't hurt him among GOP delegates.


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