Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still looks weaker to me.

As I figured, proponents of the rule of law are siding with the Washington Times suggestion that the PWC resolution was strengthened, and castigating the Washington Post for saying it was weakened.

Greg L, President of Help Save Manassas, has two posts on this subject. The first was referenced in a comment in my preceding thread, and the second is his explanation, What the Changes Actually Mean. He included a chart which broke down the issue the same way I did in my previous post, but assesses the consequence of the 3rd case differently than I would:

The third case, where a suspect is released with a ticket, warning, or nothing at all is where most of the confusion lies. Under the current policy, we again have immigration checks done at the discretion of an officer, subject to probable cause. The change here is that the probable cause requirement here seems to have been removed. Officers will still check immigration status of those detained for non-arrestable offenses (it can’t be prohibited under 8 U.S.C. 1373) at their discretion, but aren’t required to vault the probable cause hurdle. My understanding here is that since a suspect isn’t being subjected to detention, the opportunity for a successful civil rights lawsuit is either absent or tremendously low. Whether this increases or decreases the number of immigration checks that will be performed remains to be seen, but since it’s easier for an officer to conduct these checks, it’s pretty likely that more checks will be performed.

Remember, my statement was this:

So the question is: Was there more probable cause questioning of non-arrested people, or more probable cause questionings of people who were arrested and NOT taken to jail. The Washington Times article gives us the answer: As of April 1, police said they had had contact with 89 illegal immigrants and that 46 received a ticket but were not arrested or detained. 46 people who we learned were illegal immigrants, were NOT arrested or detained. Under this new "stiffer" policy, those 46 could NOT be questioned anymore.

Now, Greg argues that the new rule doesn't take away the board direction to question these non-arrested people. He argues that they still have "discretion" to question, and in fact will be MORE likely to do so because they don't need "probable cause".

The problem I have with this argument is that, as Greg also notes, under 8 U.S.C. 1373 the police have the right to question illegal status. They had that right BEFORE the resolution was passed, they had that right under the current resolution, and they still have that right under the new resolution.

In other words, for those who are not arrested, Greg's argument is that the NEW resolution simply goes back to what the law was BEFORE THE CURRENT RESOLUTION.

But if that is true, then it would mean that the CURRENT RESOLUTION was actually more restrictive than what was true before it was passed. In other words -- for those not arrested, the resolution that supposedly led to more questioning actually restricted that questioning, so that repealing that part of the resolution will actually let us question more people.

But I doubt Greg is trying to say he pushed for a resolution that restricted the police's right to question status. Of course, the original proposal didn't include "probably cause", but we certainly were led to believe it imposed a requirement for the police to implement a policy of questioning EVERY illegal for which there was probable cause.

In other words, to believe the situation for those not arrested will lead to MORE questioning now is to believe the resolution gave us LESS questioning.

Since it seems clear that in fact MORE questioning was done under the resolution, I believe that the resolution DID order the police department to implement a policy of questioning, subject to "probable cause", and the NEW resolution REMOVES that order.

IN truth, time will tell. But logic can be instructive. How many times in the past 3 months have you read Greg L., or ANY person supporting the rule of law resolution, complaining that Deane might interfere with the resolution by not having the police do the questioning they were required to do under the resolution?

Heck, do you remember any posts suggesting we should remove the requirement for probable cause questioning before last night?

Let's use some more logic. Police wanted video cameras because they were afraid if the questioned someone about their illegal immigrant status, and acted on the results of that questioning, they might be sued for civil rights violations. This when they had been told to question status based on a probable cause criteria.

But now the entire subject of asking questions is left to the "discretion" of the officer. If the officer now, using his own discretion, asks about illegal status, and acts on those answers, it will be COMPLETELY on the officer. There's no order telling him to ask questions, and no more clear process to be followed to show a lack of discrimination (the probable cause process).

And we are supposed to believe that the police, afraid to use probable cause without video camers, will be happy to use a "at your own discretion" process, without any video to protect them? The first time an officer asks the question, a lawsuit will follow, and the department will stand back and say "well, it was up to the officer NOT to violate civil rights. We didn't ask him to do ANYTHING. "

We'll know in a couple of months if the number of non-arrested people who are then hauled in for being illegal goes up or down (realise that we are now talking about people who were not arrested for an underlying offense, but in the act of being suspected of an offense, they are asked their status, give the wrong answer, and are taken into custody for deportation).

Of course, if the argument is that they will be ASKED about their status, but will NOT be detained, then maybe more questions will be asked, but what would the point be. We already have illegals ADMITTING to being illegal in meetings with the Chief of Police, because he has the "discretion" not to take action, and he doesn't.

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