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Oct. 28 2009 - 8:24 am | 483 views | 0 recommendations | 12 comments

Virginia’s crackdown on illegals pays big dividends

In 2003, several counties in Northern Virginia banded together to form a joint task force to crack down on illegals and gangs. Then in March of last year, Prince William County made national headlines by upping the ante even further. They passed an ordinance that required County police to verify the immigration status of any criminal or traffic suspects when there was probable cause to think they were in the country illegally. The suspects were held and transferred to ICE, irrespective of the disposition of any underlying traffic or criminal charge.

Almost immediately, the Washington Post started whining about the unfairness of Prince William County’s program. First of all these racist county officials, were wreaking havoc on Latino soccer leagues, some of which had to cancel games or even disband teams because of the exodus of players to liberal sanctuary counties like Arlington or sanctuary states like Maryland across the Potomac. Even the Latina hookers were having a rough go of it. The effort was so successful, the County developed a nickname in the Latino community; Condado del Diablo, The Devil’s County. Within weeks of the new law going into effect, the illegals were leaving for Maryland in droves. Marylanders didn’t want to be Virginia’s dustpan for illegals, but because it is one of the bluest states in the country, the Maryland politicians ignored the public clamor and refused to beef up their own immigration laws.
Welcome to Maryland Gang bangers
Fast forward to today, when we learned the results of 1 1/2 years of local, focused, diligent police work enforcing the immigration laws, especially as they pertain to gangs.

Crackdowns on illegal immigrants and other law enforcement efforts are driving gangs out of Northern Virginia and into Maryland and the District, a report released Monday concluded.

“Many gang members from Northern Virginia are moving or driving to Prince George’s and other Maryland counties, into the District of Columbia or further south and west into Virginia to avoid dealing with police departments that are unrelenting in their efforts to keep gangs under control,” authorities wrote in the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force report.

The report said the task force’s success is the result of Virginia law enforcement’s use of anti-gang policing measures, including the referring of suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities. Since the task force was created in 2003, it has arrested 952 gang members, more than 40 percent of whom were illegal immigrants, the report said.

Note that last stunning little statistic: More than 40% of gang members are illegal. Not to put too fine a point on it, but is there any doubt that there would be less crime if those 40% had not been here in the first place? Put another way, had we sealed the border, there would be half as many gang members in the country preying on our citizens. Anybody care to defend that abomination?

And it looks like Maryland has turned into Virginia’s dustpan for illegals. If they choose to turn a blind eye to the problem, that is their call, but all decisions have consequences.

Experts say jurisdictions such as Montgomery County, where police are told to look away from immigration violations, have become safe havens for gangs.

The bottom line for Virginians?

The task force has brought federal and local law enforcement agencies together, and the report credits it with helping drive down the region’s violent crime rate by 17 percent over the six years of the study.

Maybe somebody in Washington should take a look at this little laboratory of democracy in Virginia and maybe have it serve as a model for true comprehensive immigration reform, one that benefits the American people.


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  1. collapse expand

    Hard to argue with those numbers. I live in Northern VA. it’s amusing that there is a whore house right next to a MOM’s organic grocery store, hidden in plain sight, not more than a mile away from Del Ray, Alexandria, one of the highest ranked neighborhoods in the country for families with children. The latino labor services these communities during the day then drives a mile down the road home to hang out and enter the “restaurant” to be serviced themselves. Even more amusing is the fact that city police often have to come in and break up fights and act as bouncers to obviously drunk immigrant workers.

    The place exists so they don’t creep back into Del Ray during the daytime. Good always comes with bad most people just don’t want to acknowledge the bad if they are benefiting from the good…

  2. collapse expand

    Hey Bill- a provocative argument, and interesting. But a little leap of logic I certainly don’t agree with, just because 40 percent of gang arrestees in one Virginia county entered the country illegally doesn’t mean that 40 percent of all gang members nationwide did so.

    Also, two other points. Sealing the border hasn’t worked, no matter how many border walls and fences we put up, people still get in. It’s like trying to control music piracy with piracy controls, it doesn’t work. What’s needed is a more transparent, and yes, usable legal immigration system that includes more temporary, industry-specific worker visas and programs, more and quicker family reunification, and higher quotas for skilled immigrants. People will stop immigrating illegally when the opportunities to enter the U.S. legally are broader, easier to understand and more transparent.

    Your article seems to argue that the solution to immigration-related problems are hard-line local policies in “laboratories of democracy,” but in your own article you say these strategies simply spread the problem to neighboring counties. That hardly seems to be a nationally viable immigration solution– to turn some counties into “dustpans” while others frighten all immigrants away?

    • collapse expand

      On the issue of whether you can extrapolate the 40% of gang members being illegal to the rest of the country, I don’t know, but I would liken this to a poll with roughly 1000 respondents. You will get a margin of error on that of 3.1%. The point is that even if the are off, and the real number is 20%, isn’t that still a hell of a lot of unnecessary criminals? Isn’t that still worthy of targeting them?

      On the issue of the border fence you say, “Sealing the border hasn’t worked, no matter how many border walls and fences we put up, people still get in.”

      With all due respect, that is entirely and completely false on a couple of levels. First of all, can you tell me when we sealed the border? I think that would have been big news. No, we have only sealed parts of the border and, of course, people still get in. Sealing the entire border would do the trick. This is not a hard concept, because unlike pirating music, people are not digitized. They have to physically get here.

      When the San Diego wall was added, there was a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration and many of the associated problems.

      • Illegal alien apprehensions along the fenced region were reduced from over 202,000 in
      1992 to approximately 9,000 in 2004. Further, it is estimated that the apprehensions vs.
      attempts ratio increased to over 90%;
      • Following the establishment of the San Diego Border Fence, crime rates in San Diego
      have fallen dramatically. According to the FBI Crime Index, crime in San Diego County
      dropped 47.3% between 1989 to 2000;
      • Vehicle drive-throughs in the region have fallen from between 6 to 10 per day before the
      construction of border infrastructure to only four drive-throughs in 2004, all of which
      were isolated in locations where secondary fencing is incomplete;
      • The fence has forced drug smugglers, who once crossed the San Diego border without
      contest, to focus their efforts of access through America’s ports of entry, significantly
      increasing the likelihood of discovery and seizure of illegal narcotics entering the U.S.

      So it seems to me that where we have put up walls or fences, they have worked and the only reason illegals keep getting in is that there are not enough barriers.

      Now, I think we are in agreement on one point that a good, fully documented guest-worker program would be terrific for the United States and the workers. They earn money, the economy benefits, and we keep track of who is here so we can weed out the criminals. Where we disagree is that I am utterly opposed to any of that without completely sealing the border first.

      As far as spreading the problem, this is caused by (1) the federal government’s abdication of its job of controlling borders (and shifting the cost, both in money and decreased quality of life, onto the states) and (2) some states choosing to offer sanctuary to illegals. If a state like Maryland makes that choice, I have to assume that their self-satisfaction with “tolerance” and “diversity” outweighs the fact that they will get an element of crime with their good feelings. If they didn’t think that would happen, they are even more naive than I thought.

      Either way, the critical issue, and the dispositive one in my mind, is that Maryland has a right to allow these folks in and Virginia has a right to drive them out. That is the beauty of our Republic. Unfortunately, neither state would have to make a choice if the federal government would simply do its job.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Typical ‘i got mine’ mentality… and you seem to concentrate on a connection between illegal immigration and gangs/drugs, which is quite frankly a severe insult to the many ‘illegals’ who risk life and limb to get over here to make a pittance to send pennies back home working 12 hours a day as a dish washer.

    News flash for you agitprop xenophobia-machine, hermetically seal off our nation to EVERYONE and gangs and drugs will still be a huge problem. If we’d spent trillions of dollars on education and infrastructure instead of bombing and occupying the middle east THAT would have a significant impact on gangs and drugs that you seem to care so much about.

    but like everything else, you don’t really care about what you purport to in this blog. You are simply an agenda-spewing sophistry fountain. I suspect that there is a door on your head that your corporate masters open to change your programming from time to time (or does your model have the wireless upgrade?)

  4. collapse expand

    Dear Bill– yes, personally, I am not against a guest worker program. I think it could help if done right.

    However, much like the argument I made about local hard-line immigration policies, border fences and walls simply divert the problem to other areas– in this case remote deserts and mountain ranges. San Diego border crossings might be down, but crossings across the Arizona desert (and deaths) have been rising for years.

    A truly sealed border like the one you posit, I think, is something that would only be possible under a border area police state, and be incredibly expensive to maintain, enough so that it is simply not feasible (not to mention a threat to civil liberties and economically crippling to cross-border trade).

    That is why in the 1990s, the Clinton administration focused immigration enforcement on urban areas like San Diego, causing immigration to shift to desert paths. Immigration didn’t decrease, the beefed up security around urban areas ended up putting illegal immigration in the hands of criminal gangs and coyotes that often extort, rob and rape immigrants forced to depend on their services to get across the desert.

    I would like to see an immigration solution that doesn’t shift the problem around geographically but directly addresses it, emerging from a national conversation, such as the one we are having.

    • collapse expand

      We are about to blow a trillion dollars on health care. You don’t think we can afford to put up a fence? It’s a FENCE!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        It’s not just a fence. I spent a day at a U.S. Border Patrol post near Calexico, CA. There is a fence, made of corrugated iron mainly, but the fence alone doesn’t keep people out. There’s an amazingly high-tech command center, with dozens of computer monitors and large TV screens, where surveillance cameras feed in night-vision and day time imaging of points along just one sector of the fence (there are many cameras needed, of course). People still climb the fence all the time, even if it’s some 12-feet high, and tunnel under it, and make runs for it. Add to all this high-tech equipment the Border Patrol units (ground and air) that respond to calls when someone is spotted up on the fence, and which also just routinely patrol the dry riverbeds and desert along the fence-line. It’s a 24-7 military operation, similar to what’s needed to maintain security at a foreign military base, where similar protocols are followed. There’s a 2,000 mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. How many cameras, border patrol cars, staff, high-tech surveillance equipment, etc. would be needed to “seal” the border. A fence is meaningless without all the other toys. And even in Calexico, which is a highly watched border area, people still get across. That’s why I believe a fence is futile, and a much more efficient and cost saving method to control illegal immigration would be an effective system to funnel people into legal pathways.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I get it. My point is that, relative to a trillion dollar stimulus, a trillion dollar health care reform bill, and another projected 1.2 trillion dollar deficit next year, it is just a fence.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Fighting a war on illegal imigration is like fighting a war on drugs. To curtail it you must control it at the source. If I were a citizen of Mexico, with it’s corrupt officials and drug lords controling most of the country, I also would be looking for a way out. You have to focus on the source of the problem by forcing the Mexican government, with our help to eliminate the corruption. How are the events in Mexico any different than what we are fighting against in Afganistan? Shouldn’t the stability of Mexico’s government be more important to the security of our country based soley on proximaty?

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  5. collapse expand

    Good work, Bill. I’m a progressive, that is, I am for a living a wage and for rapid environmental progress both in the US and overseas. Our high levels of immigration hurt us badly on both accounts.
    I’m ambivalent about the fence. What will devastate the illegal immigration trade is jail time/fines for illegal employers.
    US unemployment runs 4-10%. Why do we need a guest worker program when there are so many Americans out of work?
    And please, Marcelo, forget the “they only do jobs USAmericans won’t do” canard. They only do jobs American workers won’t do for a non-living wage of about $7/hour. It is a source of great national shame that we maintain a bantustan of 40 million Americans living in poverty. The main method: high levels of immigration, legal and illegal.
    Marcelo makes no sense when he claims the solution to illegal immigration is to make it legal. By his reasoning we could solve the murder problem by making killing legal.
    The US added 33 million people in the 90s, mostly due to immigration. We will never have an equitable society and a sustainable economy as long as we continue to grow like that. We need a drastic reduction in all forms of immigration.
    Peace.

  6. collapse expand

    In California, we have a 4 billion dollar budget deficit. It is estimated the cost of illegal immigration is about 4 billion a year in California alone, 10 billion nationwide. If we spent 1 billion on building and maintaining a fence/barrier, just in California…goodbye deficit! Hello better quality of life for everyone involved who has a legal right to be here.

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    About Me

    I am a lawyer afflicted with a consuming desire to analyze and debate politics.

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