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|As an editor of the Framingham Tab, and as a person who buys ink
by the barrel, he sure seems to be openly advocating violation of
US immigration laws in order that the police serve and protect who?.
He infers that anyone who doesn't want illegal immigrants is a racist, but I can assure you that if Rob Haneisen were an illegal immigrant, I'd be the first one to call US immigration (617-565-3100).
|More than illegal vs. legal||Friday, September 19, 2003|
|Rob Haneisen||Metrowest Daily News|
"What part of illegal don't you understand?"
That's a phrase I'm hearing with more and more regularity these days in Framingham and I'm wondering if this is an indication of growing anti-immigrant sentiment. I call it a chorus wrapped around deep-seeded roots of racism.
"We like immigrants as long as they obey the law."
And let's not forget the ever popular, "If we put all the illegal immigrants back on the boat our community would be a safer place."
It's interesting to watch and read our readers and those of our sister publication, The MetroWest Daily News, react to stories about immigrants. Without fail, every time we run a story about the immigrant community - its desire to get driver's licenses, its concerns about shady bounty hunters ready to drag them away and its hopes to either make their home here in this country or make a powerful nest egg to bring to their homeland - every time we get calls and letters asking illegal immigrants to go home.
The message is clear: "You are not wanted."
Which made Police Chief Steven Carl's meeting with Brazilian community leaders last week that much more unique and in my eyes praiseworthy.
Carl was asked by local immigrant leaders to speak about legal issues involving bounty hunters and INS agents (now called something else in the Homeland Security Office) who have visited this town several times in recent months. The local immigrants, both legal and illegal wanted to know their rights and what the local police involvement was on these perceived raids.
According to Carl, agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement came to town to arrest several illegal immigrants who had overstayed their visas and had active orders for deportation. Bounty hunters, on the other hand, were here to catch immigrants who had skipped out on bonds elsewhere in the country. Carl told the crowd that bounty hunters have no jurisdiction here and their taking custody of anyone is akin to kidnapping.
Before the meeting, I thought it was worth pointing out that police, the chief even, would be presenting information, even legal rights, to a group that very well could be made up of people who are breaking the law. Some simplistic people might say that such action is hypocritical of the police mission.
I would disagree.
My interpretation of a local police force's first mission is as plain as what is typically written on their cruiser doors: To serve and protect. With the Census 2000 reporting 4,500 Brazilians living in Framingham and likely twice that number actually here, they are very much a part of this community. The police must first serve and protect this community from having its rights violated before adhering to federal immigration laws - laws that local police have no jurisdiction over.
Local police cannot question the status one's legal residency. In light of the Sept. 11 attacks where some of the terrorists were in fact illegal immigrants it would seem wrong for police on the front lines to not also act as the country's first defenders against terrorism. If Attorney General John Ashcroft can implore neighbors to rat one another out, why can't police turn in suspected illegals to Homeland Security?
But police and immigration officials don't talk to one another.
Carl also publicly stated his belief that illegal immigrants should be able to have driver's licenses, a position supported by other law enforcement leaders. This has drawn gasps of disbelief in some corners but Carl has some very pragmatic reasons.
"To arrest you for not having a license is a nuisance," he said at the meeting. "We will do it but we prefer to see the law change."
Some would say that Carl is violating his own oath to enforce the law by not arresting immigrants he or his officers know to be illegal. He's not. He's ensuring that he upholds his first priority to protect and serve his community.
The aftermath is more letters to the editor and people calling for a big boat to take all the Brazilians back to South America. A national hate group also slipped anti-immigrant documents under the doors of some Brazilian businesses downtown this week.
What action should take place is for the legislature to pass a pending bill creating licenses for illegal immigrants. Those licenses should be attached to tax identification numbers to tax the wages of immigrants and hold the true culprits of illegal immigration accountable: local business owners who have been a silent enabling group.
|Legal/Illegal Humor||Friday, September 26, 2003|
|Harold J. Wolfe|
I just loved Haneisen's article entitled "More than illegal vs. legal" on September 19, 2003. I happen to read it at a time I needed some comic relief and it hit the spot. Thank you! Rob. If the Framingham police are not responsible for the US immigration laws, then it's clear to me that they are also not responsible for any marijuana laws supported by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Let them enforce their own laws. The Framingham police should also ignore all those pesky state laws on speeding. After all, our police are primarily here to "serve and protect" us. And we need a lot of service and protection from all those pesky state and federal agencies and their annoying laws. It's great to know that this law is not applicable to our lives. INA: ACT 274 - BRINGING IN AND HARBORING CERTAIN ALIENS Sec. 274. [8 U.S.C. 1324] (a) Criminal penalties (1)(A) Any person who - (iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation; (v) (I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or (II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts, shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B). (c) Authority to arrest No officer or person shall have authority to make any arrests for a violation of any provision of this section except officers and employees of the Service designated by the Attorney General, either individually or as a member of a class, and all other officers whose duty it is to enforce criminal laws.
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