We heard a lot of whingeing on the Senate floor–and across the cable airwaves (see Geraldo)–about how illegal aliens will now be forced back “into the shadows” because the shamnesty bill failed.
Reality check number 999,998: Cook County, Ill., declares sanctuary
A month after rejecting an identical proposal, the Cook County Board today voted to forbid county police or health workers from asking about a person’s immigration status.
“This resolution simply calls for employees not to discriminate,” said Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago), who has pushed the bill for years. “We can legislate behavior.”
The bill — similar to one that passed the Chicago City Council last year — prohibits county sheriff’s police and other officials from investigating anyone’s immigration status unless it is connected to other criminal wrongdoing. County services cannot be withheld based on immigration status…Commissioner Gregg Goslin (R-Glenview) switched his vote to “yes” after the measure passed. The move gives Goslin the right to bring up the issue for reconsideration at the next meeting, when Gorman is present.
Goslin thinks the measure will encourage illegal immigrants to flood county health facilities.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do, I wanted to keep the options open,” Goslin said. “The county health bureau is on its last gasp. This will put it out of business.”
Reality check 1,000,000: Will Major Cities Simply Ignore Any New Immigration Rulings? The answer is yes. They’re alrady ignoring all the old ones with impunity.
In a sane world, the lawmakers in Washington sworn to uphold the law would do something about this. Instead, we’ve got everyone from the president on down abandoning their duties.
Every day, I get e-mail from readers asking “What can I do?”
Answer: Don’t wait for Washington.
Neither Heather Steffek nor Nashville’s entire Hispanic community was ready for life to change the way it did a year ago today.
Nevertheless, soon after a car wreck on Old Hickory Boulevard claimed the life of Steffek’s parents on June 8 of last year, it became clear that the accident was going to transform a young mother into a political crusader, take the Hispanic community by unexpected storm and completely alter the face of Nashville’s immigration policy.
Before the initial grief even subsided, Steffek became the voice for changing the way Nashville dealt with illegal immigrants found here. Even though the immediate cause of the crash that killed her parents was drunken driving, she and the rest of her family blamed their loss on the fact that the drunken driver was an illegal immigrant who filtered through both the justice and the immigration system for years.
Steffek soon hit the campaign trail on behalf of Republican Jim Bryson, who was trying to unseat Gov. Phil Bredesen, who he believed lacked a tough enough immigration policy.
And it was an entirely new role for her.
“Before I couldn’t have told you the difference between the Republican and Democratic party,” Steffek said in a Thursday interview. “What time I had to be at the soccer game Sunday morning was a thousand times more important than illegal immigration issues.”
Now, stumping for immigration reform is as much a part of her daily life as anything else.
“It was out of a need of healing and of making a wrong a right as much as I possibly could,” she said of her continued political presence. “I felt like I had no choice but to stand up and make sure everybody heard what happened to my parents.”
Steffek’s parents were killed by Gustavo Reyes Garcia, a repeat drunk driver and illegal alien with a long rap sheet. Deportation failures prompted an outcry–and action:
The news of the crash, combined with Garcia’s long rap sheet littered with prior drunken driving arrests and other charges and the fact that, despite his record, he had managed for years to live in Nashville undetected as an illegal alien, sent shockwaves through the city.
The Garcia story also became the catalyst for getting Nashville law enforcement officials to team up with the federal government to bring to Nashville a program to identify and deport as many as 4,000 crime-committing illegal aliens a year. In years before the program began, number of deportations of similar criminal illegal aliens consistently registered under 200 annually.
The faces behind the push for the adoption of that program, called 287(g), are many and, in addition to Steffek, included those of Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall, District Attorney Torry Johnson and Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
The bottom line for Steffek:
“It all goes back to if Gustavo Reyes Garcia,” she said. “Had he been deported the first time they had him, if he would have been punished in an extreme manner, not only for drinking and driving or assaulting a police officer or running from the scene, but also for being an illegal immigrant in our country, I do believe that my parents would still be alive today.
“So I do believe that this is still an immigration issue,” she said.
Steffeck said she has no specific plans to campaign for any individual candidates, but said she is already laying the groundwork for a county-by-county lobbying campaign for the implementation of 287(g) in every county in the state.
“I think for the rest of my life you’ll be hearing from me about this,” she said.
As Patterico says: Deport the criminals first.
As Sen. Tom Coburn proposed: Enforce existing laws.
Support the lawmakers who support these objectives. Vote out the lawmakers who stand in the way. Work with local politicians and law enforcement officials who will put your interests above the open-borders lobby’s. And don’t let the GOP off the hook.
This is neither the beginning nor the end of the immigration debate. The White House is still trying to push shamnesty through. I predicted a while ago that after the massive amnesty package failed, Congress would break off chunks of the bill and try and pass it piecemeal. I expect that to happen here, as it has repeatedly in the past.
Needed: A Heather Steffek in every city and county across America.
It’s time for ordinary Americans to come out of the shadows and remind Washington every day in words and actions that we are a sovereign nation, not a sanctuary nation.
Don’t let the White House forget it. Contact info here.