Last week, I told the tale of Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and his novel approach to dealing with illegal aliens. He charged Jorge Ramirez, 21, of Mexico, with “criminal trespass” for being in New Ipswich (as part of the United States) illegally. Last week Ramirez pleaded guilty and agreed to report for deportation in exchange for the $1,000 fine being waived.
But that was before the Mexican government got involved. They hired a local attorney for Ramirez (who had appeared without counsel in his first appearance), who filed a withdrawal of his plea. The court accepted it, and he now faces trial in July.
This has the earmarks of becoming a case of David vs. Goliath, as the entire government of Mexico puts its weight behind one of its wayward citizens in his fight with a small town in New Hampshire. But I think I see a way to even things up a bit.
There’s an old Chinese tradition (that, for all I know, might be apocryphal) that once you save a man’s life, you’re responsible for him for the rest of his life. I’d like to see that applied here.
If the Mexican government wants to take responsibility for Ramirez, so be it. Let them be responsible for every single expense the town, state, and federal governments have incurred as a result of his continued illegal presence in the United States. Jail costs, court costs, paperwork, everything even remotely attributable to his being here illegally.
And if it’s the position of the government of Mexico that he has the right to be in the United States, it is saying that it does not recognize the right of the United States to maintain its borders and its own policies about who may cross them — and how. That violation of the United States’ sovereignty can easily be considered an act of war. Indeed, wars have started for far less, and the sanctity of a nation’s borders is one of the major causes of wars.
You wanna fight over Ramirez, Mexico? Fine with me. But no nation gets to fight a single small town. Mess with New Ipswich, and you’re risking a fight with all of New Hampshire — and the entire United States.
I’m fairly comfortable that New Ipswich will get support from the state, but I don’t know if the Bush administration will allow the federal government to assist. But I know they should.