Like many folks in the United States, I’m an immigrant. But unlike many folks who crossed this nation’s borders, I was lucky to come here with a green card. I say “lucky” because getting a green card typically involves having the money and educational skills to make you “desirable” in the eyes of federal immigration authorities, things you are less likely to have if you are born into a dirt-poor country.
Getting my green card involved getting fingerprinted and biometrically assessed. So, I understand the national security argument for wanting every immigrant's fingerprints. And I hear the feds saying that, thanks to limited resources, their prime objective is to deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
The question I have around the Secure Communities program is this: Where are the guarantees that this system won’t be used, now or in the future, to deport long-term or juvenile residents who haven’t actually committed serious crimes?
Imagine that your legal immigrant co-worker is charged with terrorist activity? You’d expect them to get their day in court before being stripped of their citizenship, right? You wouldn’t say “due process’ was never meant to protect criminal behavior, would you? But that’s exactly the slippery slope that folks start sliding down when they say that sanctuary city policies were never meant to protect criminal behavior, while refusing to stand up for the due process rights of immigrants who aren't guilty as charged.
The point here is that there is a world of difference between being charged with and being guilty of a crime, (which explains why Arizona is trying to make it a crime to be here without paperwork.) And without guarantees of due process, the potential for abuse of any law becomes immense.So, it’s kinda important that folks who want to be politcal leaders show us that they get that point. Otherwise, how can we trust them to stand up and do what's right in the future?
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