Saturday, August 13, 2005

NH Judge to cops: you can't enforce immigration laws

I must admit that I occasionally seek to use nuance in my language. However, I find it hard to reconcile that a group of people that we refer to as "law enforcement" are being told that they have no authority to enforce the law. In New Hampshire Judge L. Phillips Runyon III has ruled that cops who detained illegal aliens could not charge "criminal trespass" because "The criminal trespass charges against the defendants are unconstitutional attempts to regulate in the area of enforcement of immigration violations[.]"

I fail to find anywhere in the Constitution (and please leave me a comment if you can find one) where local law enforcement officals are precluded from enforcing the laws of this country. The judge sees it differently, obviously. I am suspicious, however, that there's something else going on in this decision.

::::::::The judge said the series of penalties the federal government imposes for immigration violations are so complete that Congress meant to leave no room for states in immigration enforcement. ::::::::

So the fact that Congress writes law that's tightly fit (for once, and in his opinion) is sufficient to tell state and local police that they can't enforce that law? That makes no sense whatsoever, unless you're ticked off at Congress about something already. And in case anyone's wondering if I'm accusing the judge of letting his personal feelings on unrelated matters cloud his judgement, rest assured: I am. His statements don't make sense otherwise.

So, once again, we have local police who identified illegal aliens within our borders and detained them with every intention of applying our nation's laws and they are told they have overstepped their bounds. Once again, the illegals are released after the cops' fine work. I would like Judge Runyon to explain a couple of things. First, I thought it was a matter for all US citizens to uphold our laws. Why are the police - you know, the guys we pay to actually enforce laws - now precluded from doing so? Second, why should local law enforcement now involve themselves with any matter that might touch on a federal law, knowing that all their hard work on the matter can be flushed down the nearest sewer with the stroke of his pen?

I certainly hope the residents of the towns under Runyon's jurisdiction feel safer now that their judge has told the police to back off these criminals when they see them. Clearly, Congress needs to pass immigrations laws that are a little more "complete" so even judges in small towns can figure out that they're intended to be enforced.