Check out this exchange between DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and CNN’s Larry King:
KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate [Joe Arpaio]. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.
NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren’t enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.
What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.
And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well. (emphasis added)
Now I’ll agree that it is possible to have a very interesting discussion regarding the philosophical implications of clandestine border crossings in relation to our relative conception of good and evil; in other words I’ll allow for the possibility of arguing that secretly crossing a nation’s border is not an act of evil. But with respect to the United States, it is certainly against the law, and therefore a criminal offense:
ENTRY WITHOUT INSPECTION IS A CRIME: In fact, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1325, crossing the border illegally is a crime-a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for the second and subsequent offenses.
When our law enforcement agencies decide to ignore certain sections of the law simply because they do not feel that the violation of those laws constitutes an act of evil, then we are in trouble. If we had been regularly enforcing immigration laws for the past thirty years, then the problem would have not grown to the size it is now, where there are (truthfully) not “enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms, or jail cells.”
You see, when you don’t enforce laws, people start breaking them. When a significant number of people break those laws on a regular basis, it becomes difficult or impossible to enforce them. Then “right-thinking” intellectuals propose the elimination those laws, because 1) so many people are breaking them that attempting to enforce them is futile, and 2) the laws themselves must be immoral because so many people are breaking them.
This is the same argument used by those who want to see marijuana decriminalized. It is shocking and sad to see government officials invoke the same shallow line of reasoning with respect to illegal immigration.
(h/t Michelle Malkin)