Why shouldn't city employees turn undocumented immigrants over to the INS? Because if immigrants fear being caught and deported, they will avoid the police, hospitals and schools--to the detriment of the entire city. If the federal government fails to fulfill its responsibility to keep undocumented immigrants out of the U.S., then we must afford them certain protections to preserve the health and safety of all Americans.--Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 1/9/97 [link via Rude Pundit]
A criminal who victimizes an undocumented immigrant might attack a legal resident next. Discouraging the reporting of crimes would make it more difficult for the police to track criminal activity. New York now leads the nation in crime reduction, but we cannot catch criminals, prevent crime and protect the public if we don't have accurate information about where and when crimes are occurring.
Immigrants who fail to seek medical care for fear of deportation also pose a substantial danger to the general public. The misguided new federal law could result in the spread of serious communicable diseases that might easily have been contained if diagnosed and treated early.
And parents who fear deportation might not send their children to public schools. If not in school, some 80,000 children of undocumented immigrants would be on the streets of New York or left alone in apartments. Not only would they suffer irreversible damage, but so many unsupervised children would endanger public safety in the entire city.
What's more, there is no indication that vastly increasing the number of names reported to the INS would even lead to substantially more deportations. The federal government seldom deports undocumented immigrants, even when the INS has established their identities. In New York City, which has an estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants, only about 1,500 are deported each year. While the recently enacted illegal-immigration law provides new funding for deportation, still less than 1% of the undocumented immigrants already in New York would be deported each year. If the federal government wants to stop illegal immigration, it should work diplomatically with other governments and better secure our national borders, not endanger public safety by recklessly denying critical services to people already here.
October 15, 2007
A Republican speaks, on illegal immigration: