This week's EJS column from the delightful Carrboro Citizen:
Truth & consequences
As promised, there’s been a step-up of immigration raids. This at a time when our junior senator is making the rounds of local law enforcement encouraging the deportation of those apprehended and found to not be here legally.
On the surface it all kind of makes sense – an easy sale of nativist talking points. Break the law – get tossed out.
Except that the border is as porous as a colander and the laws of economics are in direct conflict with those in the general statutes. Then there’s the not-so-perfect federal I.D. system that’s already sent actual U.S. citizens out of the country.
A real immigration policy includes context and confronts these realities. But we don’t have a real policy and in response to the politics of the day we’ve seen a compartmentalizing of immigration. The result promises even greater chaos than we have today.
Most of that will come from the shift of greater responsibility for immigration enforcement to local law enforcement. In most places, this has been long resisted and for good reason. In this case, the short-term gains will be far outweighed by the long-term consequences for a couple of key reasons.
First, back to the border for a minute. There’s little reason to be confident that anyone deported today who wants to get back into the country will be deterred from doing so.
Second, local agencies have resisted joining the La Migra posse because it makes it very difficult to work within the immigrant community to make them safer – more crimes go unreported, more witnesses don’t come forward. Most agencies have tried to get closer to the immigrant community and win trust to prevent gangs and drugs from taking over. Driving people deeper underground is going to create more fertile ground for crime. And all the while, politicians will tout this as their effort to get tough.
We’ve already seen that “get tough” means breaking up families and tossing people out who are contributing members – in some cases, longtime contributing members – of society.
But with an election around the corner and politicians like Sen. Dole firmly committed to tapping nativist rage, there’s little chance that the debate will see an injection of sanity anytime soon.
New poll numbers for North Carolina from Public Policy Polling show that the recently announced Fred Thompson has jumped ahead of his Republican rivals. A breakdown of the poll by area codes shows Thompson leads comfortably in all regions of the state. Overall, the poll shows Thompson favored by 34 percent, followed by Giuliani (16 percent), Romney (13 percent) and McCain (7 percent).
A bit tighter on the Democratic side with John Edwards and Hillary Clinton continuing to battle for the lead. Broken down by area codes, Edwards is running stronger in the Triangle and the mountains and Clinton is ahead in Charlotte and the southeast. Barack Obama is running strong in the southeast, where he’s tied with Edwards.
Overall, Clinton leads with 30 percent, followed by Edwards (28 percent) and Obama (21 percent).
The numbers on the governor race shows Beverly Perdue with a clear lead over Richard Moore. She’s ahead 35 percent to Moore’s 28 percent.
On the Republican side, it looks like Fred Smith’s “Q” factor has yet to kick in despite all those local pig pickin’s he’s been hosting. Bill Graham is up 23 percent over Robert Orr and Smith who are tied at 9 percent.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent for the Dems and 3.8 percent for the GOP.