Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The race to the bottom

-- by Dave

What with most of the other Republican presidential candidates jumping aboard the immigrant-bashing bandwagon, it sort of stands to figure that leading basher among the bunch would try to leap ahead of the pack with a new ad featuring a nakedly nativist appeal -- namely, those "open borders" and illegal aliens are bringing vicious killer bees drug gangs with them! Run for your lives!

You gotta love the opening:
Hi, I'm Tom Tancredo, and I approve this ad, because someone needs to say it.

Reminds me of the (fortunately few) racists among my relatives before they start telling me why blacks are such prolific criminals.

And sure enough, the ad is all about the evil Central American Drug Gangs that are bringing their brand of criminality to America:
Pushing Drugs. Raping Kids. Destroying Lives. The Consequences of Open Borders.

That's right: All those "illegals" -- that is, those criminals -- are bringing smack dealers and child rapists to our shores. Doesn't matter that these gangs constitute the tiniest fragment of the current wave of Latino immigration: they're all "criminals."

And then there's Tancedo's solution:
Secure the Borders. Deport Those Who Don't Belong. Make Sure They Never Come Back.

Um, well, OK, except that this happens to describe how authorities have been handling these gangs. And, well, it hasn't exactly had the best results:
In the last 12 years, U.S. immigration authorities have logged more than 50,000 deportations of immigrants with criminal records to Central America, including untold numbers of gang members like Cruz-Mendoza.

But a deportation policy aimed in part at breaking up a Los Angeles street gang has backfired and helped spread it across Central America and back into other parts of the United States. Newly organized cells in El Salvador have returned to establish strongholds in metropolitan Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities. Prisons in El Salvador have become nerve centers, authorities say, where deported leaders from Los Angeles communicate with gang cliques across the United States.

A gang that once numbered a few thousand and was involved in street violence and turf battles has morphed into an international network with as many as 50,000 members, the most hard-core engaging in extortion, immigrant smuggling and racketeering. In the last year, the federal government has brought racketeering cases against MS-13 members in Long Island, N.Y., and southern Maryland.

And in the real world, of course, once you become a serious player in a super-wealthy drug cartel, the question of "open borders" is something of a joke -- they have a thousand ways of getting in and out of the country without ever seeing a Customs officer, and certainly without having to cross by foot.

Fortunately, as the above L.A. Times story goes on to explain, authorities have managed to figure this out and are now handling these gang members by keeping them in U.S. prisons instead of deporting them. Evidently, if Tancredo had his way -- not very likely at this point, thank God -- that would all revert back.

But then, most of us figured out long ago that fanaticism makes for bad government.

Unfortunately, it's not clear that the Republican presidential field has. It will be interesting in the coming weeks to see how many of them go on to attempt to out-bigot Tancredo. Lotsa luck on that.

UPDATE: Duke 1676 at Migra Matters has more.

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