Monday, March 3, 2008

Empty Suit Press Conference in LA

Bratton, Delgadillo, Villaraigosa
"Yeah, we're really crackin' down now."

There was a big press conference in LA today that centered around illegal alien gang members. Attending were representives from local and federal law enforcement as well as LA political leaders. More specifically, LA Mayor Tony Villaraigosa took a break from running around the country trying to get Hillary Clinton nominated (He is her national co-chair and has drawn local criticism for not being around), City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo (a master of misappropriation of city resources). Police Chief William Bratton, who throws his own officers under the bus when they lay their hands on rioting illegal immigrant demonstrators, and Sheriff to the Stars, Lee Baca. The FBI was there as well as ICE. In addition, there was a representative from El Salvador's Ministry of Justice.

The main topic of concern was illegal alien gang members, especially MS-13 of El Salvador, a particularly vicious and murderous bunch that operates back and forth between our two countries. This week, LA is hosting a week-long conference of federal/state and local agencies plus officials from Central America, Spain and Canada. During the press conference, it was announced that LAPD and the Salvadoran National Police will exchange 4 liaison officers from each entity to help train and advise their counterparts.

CNN's outspoken commentator, Lou Dobbs, was less than impressed, noting that the above number represented half of the assembled dignitaries at the press conference.

I am all for state/local/federal and international police agencies working together to combat this problem. That is precisely what I spent many years doing as a DEA agent fighting drug trafficking. I am all for LA working together with the Salvadorans (and Mexicans). What I think would be especially helpful is for LA to cease being a sanctuary city for illegal aliens and cooperate more fully with ICE and other federal agencies. I think that ICE should have representatives in the LA County Jail to monitor the status of foreign arrestees. International agreements dictate that when a foreign national is arrested, his or her consulate must be notified. Why not notify immigration authorities as well? That's what virtually every other country does.

Unless there is a genuine effort to turn over law-breaking illegal aliens, especially gang members) to ICE, it is hard to conclude that this is anything more than window dressing. LA's leaders from the Mayor to the Chief of Police have made it very clear that they are not inclined to combat illegal immigration in their city. Thus, LA is a sanctuary city. The federal officials participating in the press conference must have been biting their collective lips at hearing the likes of Villaraigosa and Bratton talk about cracking down.

Meanwhile, the same day in Washington, an advocacy group for illegal aliens (People Without Borders) was holding their own press event to demand legalization for the "13million undocumented workers in the US". As their name would indicate, this group doesn't believe that our nation should have enforceable borders or enjoy any degree of sovreignty. One of their spokespersons delighted in pointing out that none of the remaining presidential candidates will be strong on illegal immigration.

Sadly, it was probably only the latter group that really believed the words they were uttering.

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