Thursday, April 14, 2005

Surrender in Virginia

The fact that America's illegal immigration crisis persists, and worsens, almost entirely because of the total inaction of US federal authorities is amply demonstrated by the recent release of eleven illegal immigrants capture in Virginia.
Federal authorities released 11 illegal aliens who were detained during a traffic stop in Annandale (Virginia) because immigration officials said they did not pose a threat to the public.

'The 11 passengers were processed and released,' said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. 'There were children involved, so it was better that we released them.'

Authorities ordered the 11 Mexican nationals, three of whom are children, to return to immigration offices tomorrow for further processing. Ms. Fobbs said officials do not know where the illegals are in the meantime.

'It's up to them whether they come back,' she said. 'If they do not, they will be considered fugitives, and once we do encounter them again, they'll be removed from the United States. They stand to lose a lot if they do not appear.'
Re-read those paragraphs again. The message they contain is both blunt and shocking. The US government has no intention of enforcing US immigration law. In this case, federal authorities had detained eleven foreign nationals who violated US law by entering the country illegally and clearly had every intention of continuing to violate US law. The response of the US government? It lets them go. Ms. Fobbs might as well have shrugged when she explained that "it's up to them whether they come back" since it's damn near certain that the eleven released illegals will never show up in court. Her suggestion that they would then be deported if US authorities "do encounter them again" is also laughable. According to a recent Pew study, there are as many as eleven million illegal immigrants residing in the US. If the government continues this level of enforcement that number will only rise - dramatically. Finding these eleven illegals again would be like locating a penny in a land fill.

The incident in Annandale exposes the inadequacy of federal and state law in dealing with the illegal immigration problem.
'It highlights the problem that immigration violation is a federal offense and a state or county officer does not have the authority to detain them for a federal offense,' [Delegate David B. Albo, Fairfax County Republican] said. 'You get your hands on them, and you have no authority to do anything.'

A Virginia law enacted last year allows local law-enforcement officials to detain illegal aliens who are suspected of a crime, have been previously convicted of a felony or have been previously deported or left the U.S. after a conviction and illegally returned. Police also can detain illegals for up to 72 hours without bail until they are taken into federal custody.

Under the state law, there is no authority for a local law-enforcement officer to arrest a person solely for being an illegal alien.
Despite strong public sentiment against illegal immigration, Congress refuses to act comprehensively to deal with the problem. This is the same Congress, incidentally, which found the time to hold rushed public hearings to deal with the "extremely critical" problem of steriod use among a small number of over-paid baseball players and rushed back into session to draft emergency legislation in the Terri Schiavo case. The collapse of the US southern border apparently merits no concern in Washington, save among heroic standalones like Representative Tom Tancredo.

As Americans file their income taxes this week, they may want to reflect on how the government to which they are compelled to hand over so much of their income has abandoned protecting them and now works directly against their interests.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mexico Aides Illegals

The complicity of the Mexican government in America's illegal immigration crisis has been made shockingly clear by the presence of the Minutemen, a group of private American citizens have been patrolling an area of the US-Mexico border in Arixona for less than two weeks.
The Mexican army is escorting those attempting to cross over the U.S. border illegally – including known drug-runners – to areas not patrolled by the Minuteman Project near Naco, Ariz., say Border Patrol sources and other officials including a U.S. congressman.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, denounced the action by the Mexican military and called on President Bush to do the same.

'President Bush should publicly denounce Mexico's latest act to curb U.S. law,' said Tancredo. 'The president of Mexico is threatening to sue any member of the Minutemen who have contact with a Mexican national, threatening to take the U.S. into the International Court of Justice at the Hague over the passage of Prop 200 in Arizona, and is providing transportation to Mexican nationals trying to sneak into the U.S. One could say he is acting in the best interest of his nation. Isn't it unfortunate we cannot say the same thing about President Bush?'
If the Mexican military is directly facilitating illegal crossings into the US by Mexicans or others from Mexican territory, in direct contravention of US law, then the Mexican government is committing a hostile act against the US. Mexico has clear interests in sending as many illegal immigrants into the US as possible. Mexican nationals working in the US send back billions of dollars in remittances to their families in Mexico, which helps Mexico's otherwise struggling economy. The Mexican economy is further assisted by draining away otherwise unemployed poor people who would consume government subsidies were they still residing in Mexico. Finally, the presence of millions of Mexicans living in the US gives Mexico a historically unprecedent mechanism of political leverage in Washington, since the burgeoning Hispanic population (mostly Mexican) is beginning to have a weight of its own in US politics - witness President Bush's deference to Spanish-speaking Americans and his kowtowing to Mexican President Vincente Fox.

Representatives of the Minutemen confirm that the Mexican military has been active along the border.
Grey Deacon, a spokesman for the Minuteman Project, reported illegal immigration is down considerably from previous months in the area patrolled by the U.S. citizen volunteers trying to bring attention to the problem of the porous border. While he claimed credit for 241 Minuteman-assisted apprehensions by the Border Patrol in the week since the project began, he pointed out the 23-mile section of the border normally sees thousands of crossing attempts a day while they have been numbered in the dozens a day since the project began.

He said the Minutemen aided today in the capture of a 'coyote,' a professional human smuggler.

'But the traffic is down because the Mexican military is leading illegal aliens, including drug smugglers, away from the area of the border we are patrolling,' he said.

Border Patrol sources say the Mexican army recently moved about 1,000 troops to the Agua Prieta region, just south of where the Minutemen are. These troops, the sources say, are diverting all of the illegal alien and drug-smuggling traffic away from the Minutemen.
The intervention of Mexican officials on behalf of those illegally crossing the US border is highlighted by the actions of Hector Salazar, who works for Grupo Beta, a Mexican government funded agency that patrols the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border "to protect immigrants approaching the border, not to arrest them." Grupp Beta is not a part of the Mexican military, but it has been active in helping Mexicans violate American law for years. Recently, Mr. Salazar observed a group of six young men preparing to cross into Arizona Mr. Salazar quickly moved to warn them that the Minutemen were waiting for them on the other side of the border.
'They're over there, observing you,' he said, pointing to the sparks of sunlight that flashed off the cars and trucks of the volunteer civilian group that is here to spotlight what members call Washington's failure to control the border. The Minutemen waited in lawn chairs, binoculars scanning southward, cell phones ready to summon the Border Patrol.

'We recommend that you don't try to cross here,' Salazar said. 'The decision is yours, but it would be better to try somewhere else.'
In voicing its opposition to the Minutemen Project, the Mexican government made clear that it had deployed its armed forces along the US-Mexico border and expected trouble.
Just prior to the launch of the Minuteman Project March 30, Miguel Escobar Valdez, Mexican consul in Douglas, Ariz., said the Mexican military was bracing for possible violence on the border.

'The Mexican army is on alert,' Escobar said. 'Also, law enforcement will be vigilant because the situation is very volatile. This is because, I have to say it, there are violent and radical elements on both sides of the border.'
There would be no threat of violence on the US-Mexico border if Mexico respected US territorial sovereignty and American law. Mexico is attempting to US illegal immigration for its own economic and political benefit. This is the cause of the "volatile" situation on the border. It is interesting to note that Mexico is willing to deploy its military forces along the US-Mexico border to protect the interests of Mexican citizens, while President Bush is unwilling to do anything to protect the interests of American citizens or US territorial integrity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Quebec Holds the Line in Canada

While Americans have been mounting a vigorous defense of Western Civilization against the tide of Islamism, Canadians have been gradually surrendering their heritage to the hundreds of thousands of non-Western immigrants they have permitted to flood their shores. But recently, the French-speaking province of Quebec, which enjoys quasi-sovereignty of its own within the Canadian system, rejected attempts by Muslims to establish their own civil arbitration system based on Islamic religious law, known as the Sharia. Muslims in other parts of Canada have requested their own system of arbitration tribunals to settle legal questions outside Canada's secular legal system.
"Certainly not in Quebec," Justice Minister Yvon Marcoux said earlier this month. "The door is closed and will remain closed."
Quebec uses civil law based on France's Napoleonic Code, rather than the Britain-derived common law employed by Ontario and other provinces. Since the 1960s, it has been Canada's sole, officially secular jurisdiction, excluding any and all religious considerations from civil affairs.
There is therefore no Arbitration Act, as in Ontario, which can be used by religious groups to resolve domestic conflicts.
A furor was set off here last year with the news that parts of Ontario's sizeable, but non-homogenous Muslim community intended to use the act to set up arbitration tribunals for disputes involving marriage, divorce and custody.
Muslim and non-Muslim critics alike protested that the 1,400-year-old body of Qur'an-inspired laws considers women inferior to men and would infringe their equality rights as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
However, a six-month study by former attorney-general Marion Boyd concluded in December that, with new safeguards in place, Muslim women would still be protected by Canadian law.
Such nonsense defies rational explanation. Apparently, the Canadian government is willing to accept the establishment of a separate system of religious courts in competition with the official legal system, and doesn't anticipate that this could eventually lead to serious problems. Nor does Marion Boyd consider the possibility that such tribunals, once established, might evolve into a more potent force if many Muslims start using them. If enough Muslims use the tribunals, might Muslims not demand more power for such tribunals? Might they not demand their own courts? Or the institution of Islamic law more broadly in Canada? Ms. Boyd also seems deaf to the concern that Muslim women - treated little better than property under Islamic law - might find themselves pressured by family and community to go through the religious tribunals and assent to their judgments no matter how unfair.

In an unusual display of common sense, the Quebecois are having none of this.
"(We) must say loud and clear that not only do we not want sharia in Quebec, we don't want it in Ontario and we don't want it in Canada," International Relations Minister Monique Gagnon-Tremblay told a conference last week.
The former immigration minister went even further in denouncing Ontario's attempt to accommodate both gender and religious rights in its increasingly pluralistic society.
Immigrants who want to come to Quebec, she said, "and who do not respect women's rights or who do not respect whatever rights may be in our Civil Code — should stay in their country and not come to Quebec, because that is unacceptable.
This represents such an obvious point, it seems to be lost in Canada. Why are Canadians changing their laws and culture to accomodate immigrants and not the other way around? If Muslims don't want to live under the secular law of Western nations, then let them remain in their own countries and maintain whatever system of theocratic jurisprudence best satisfies their religious passions. Canada epitomizes the ideology of self-loathing that has become endemic among Western elites over the past thirty years and which goes under the name "multiculturalism." This means, any culture but that of the West. Canadians apparently have thoroughly imbibed this ideological poison and now attach so little value to their customs and cultural legacy that they are willing to permit aliens to colonize their country and establish their own.

The Canadian Muslims who want to see Sharia law imposed, and understand that they can achieve their goal by working in small increments, rather than declaring their ultimate intentions, are predictably affronted by Quebec's rejection of Sharia law.
The government's opposition to sharia arbitration comes as no surprise to Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal.
"We didn't expect they'd entertain the idea because they have a taboo on all religions," he says. "They are trying to impose secular extremism, but we're not France. We still have a Charter of Rights in this country that gives us the right to express our religion." Which means that Quebec Muslims "don't have to be given the right to use sharia.
We already have the right. We're talking about a complementary, not parallel, system of laws for those who want to live according to their faith.It may be illegal for him to "arbitrate" in Quebec, says Elmenyawi, but as an imam, or prayer leader, he can and already does "mediate" between feuding couples who choose to use his services.
Well, at least the Muslim activists have the talking points already memorized. If Quebec tries to defend its legal system, it is "imposing secular extremism" on Muslims. That phrase was almost certainly crafted to appeal to Christian religious conservatives. The Islamists have learned well the language of Western political debate and have schooled themselves in using public relations to tickle Western guilt and self-hatred to advance their cause.

As for the situation of women unfortunate enough to find themselves in front of Sharia tribunals, Muslim activists blithely dismiss any concern.
Elmenyawi, who is also the Muslim chaplin at McGill University, thinks Boyd did an "excellent job" on her report and blames the media for giving its critics a high profile.
He vehemently objects to the widely raised argument that Muslim wives, many new to the country, unable to speak the language and unaware of brand-new legal rights, will be forced into accepting an imam's sharia ruling."It is condescending to say they will be pressured," he says. "Women are not oppressed by Islam. It equates men and women."
Of course. That's why Muslim women enjoy such freedom and dignity across the Muslim world. While Mr. Elmenyawi scoffs at the idea that Muslim women in Canada might be pressured by such tribunals, the evidence to the contrary is considerable. Muslim women living in Western nations have faced harassment, violence and even death at the hands of conservative Muslims who didn't approve of their choices (see previous post).

Nevertheless, legal experts appear convinced that Sharia-based civil tribunals must be permitted in various provinces under current Canadian law.
"In our society, we allow religious groups to discriminate," says Joseph Heath, a political philosopher at the University of Toronto, "because a liberal state must remain neutral."
He cites as examples the Catholic Church's ban on female clergy and various churches' refusal to marry same-sex partners: "Why do we permit this? Because religions are voluntary organizations.
"Islam is no exception."
Heath says that unless there is an issue of safety — he cites the Sikh tradition of carrying a kirpan (a small religious knife) into classrooms — or an overriding public interest in interceding, the state should stay out of religion.
Each requested exemption to the law (kirpans were considered weapons), should be assessed, he says.
Ontario has no choice but to allow Muslims to use the Arbitration Act because the province's small Hasidic Jewish community already uses it.
Unless, Heath adds, it decided to ban all religious involvement in civil matters, including family law: "That would be acceptable because it is consistent."
Mr. Heath's comparison to the Catholic ban on female clergy and same-sex marriage are spurious. Those are internal policies of a voluntary organization; they have no legal standing outside the church. Nor are those policies in any way conflated with the Canadian government or meant to rival the jurisdiction of the Canadian legal system. Mr. Heath does raise a valid point when he points out that Ontario has tolerated similar religious tribunals among Hasidic Jews. Canada should not have permitted the Hasidic community to establish its own civil arbitration system, exactly because other religious groups might want to do the same. The Hasidic community remains small and poses no threat to greater Canadian society and culture. This is not true of many Muslims.