Monday, August 03, 2015

A Very Modest Proposal

Surely you jest, Clarissa.

According to Seung Min Kim of Politico

Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, deputy vice president at the National Council of La Raza, said her group would have to see the fine print of Feinstein’s measure before weighing in, but she urged Congress to “legislate responsibly rather than impulsively.”

“Attempts to criminalize a community wholesale are not only misguided,” she said. “They make law enforcement’s job actually harder.”

The focus of Kim's ire, feigned or otherwise, is the effort by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California to

write a bill that would force localities to comply with federal immigration requests — prompted by the death of a San Francisco woman, allegedly at the hands of an immigrant here illegally.

Activists, particularly from Feinstein’s home state, have launched protests at her congressional office, demanding that she stop writing legislation they’ve branded as anti-immigrant. More than 50 organizations have written a letter to Feinstein and fellow California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, warning against measures the groups worry would provoke fear within immigrant communities.

"She is basically... joining the Donald Trump bandwagon," says the managing director of United We Dream about a Senator who served as mayor of the city in which Kathryn Steinle was murdered (video below), evidently by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. He was a fellow who had seven felony convictions in the USA, from which he had been deported five times. Steinle had been committing the unspeakable act of standing with her father on the San Francisco waterfront when her life was ended.

Kim notes

And some advocates have even pulled out unflattering comparisons of Feinstein to presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has skyrocketed to the top of national GOP polls with his controversial comments labeling immigrants from Mexico as rapists and drug dealers.

"The Mexican Government," Trump has maintained, "is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”   He pledges to build a wall, to be paid for by the Mexican government.  And against Democratic opposition, the GOP-controlled House recently approved a bill which US News reports "would punish jurisdictions that prohibit the collection of immigration information or don't cooperate with federal requests, by blocking them from receiving certain law enforcement grants and funding."

It would seem that punishing a local government, uncooperative with federal law enforcement, by withholding law enforcement funding might defeat the purpose of a bill focused on law enforcement. Whether or not for that reason, California's senior senator wants to go a different route and

said she wanted to write her legislation as a counterbalance to measures from Republicans, such as a bill from Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Jeff Flake of Arizona that would withhold funding for cities and other local jurisdictions that defy federal detainer requests.

A detainer is when immigration officials ask local jails to keep an immigrant in the United States illegally in custody — even if he or she would otherwise be released — which gives federal authorities time to pick up the person. Vitter and Flake’s bill, called the Stop Sanctuary Cities Act, is set for a markup in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and is a nonstarter with Democrats.

Feinstein said she won’t support the GOP bill and her legislation is meant to be an alternative.

Feinstein outlined the broad contours of her bill at a Judiciary Committee hearing last month: It would require state and local law enforcement officials to tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement when an immigrant here illegally with a felony conviction is about to be released, if ICE asks for a notification.

Exactly how a felony would be defined is in question; Feinstein may exempt immigration-related felonies — such as illegal reentry by someone who has already been deported — from her bill, according to multiple sources. Also under consideration is withholding some federal cash from localities that don’t comply, according to the sources.

Details have to be added. But contrary to Martinez-de-Castro's claim, Feinstein is not attempting to "criminalize" anyone.   She merely wants to end ineffective communication between the state and the federal authorities for someone already a felon. Nor is she trying to do anything "wholesale," given that it is focused on passing along information about an individual.

The nerve of that woman!  Having one arm of law enforcement inform another that someone of interest is in custody. That could be the end of democracy as we know it.  Or at least the beginning of the end for a few guys like Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.

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