DUI To Me One More Time

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:00 pm

I was listening to KUOW (our local NPR station) this morning when I heard a local report regarding reaction to the goverment’s recent implementation of immigration laws. Specifically, the current rannygazoo has to do with the fact that the INS and immigration courts are “removing” (the new term for deporting) immigrants who generate as few as a single felony DUI, based primarily on provisions in immigration law that allow for deportation of non-citizens who do not reflect the proper “character” to qualify for continued residency in the United States.

I’m sure I’m not privy to a lot of the intricacies of this particular discussion, but still I feel like I’m missing the point. Why exactly should I care if immigrants who are caught driving drunk get deported? Why, in fact, should I do anything but celebrate the situation? Are these people alleging that they have been fraudulently charged? If so, it wasn’t mentioned in the report. (And bear in mind that this was NPR, not Faux News. If there was credible and widespread evidence of goverment officials abusing this procedure, you think they’d have mentioned it.) Are they angry because they only get one chance to fuck up and endanger themselves and others before getting the boot? If so, well, excrement occurs, don’t it?

Apparently some folks in this predicament have protested that such an act would cause them undue hardship. Among other things, they cite the fact that they have families in the States, and that forcing them to decide between splitting up the family and moving back to the Old Country is unfair.

How about splitting up the family of an innocent bystander who gets plowed under by a drunk driver? What about the hardship of knowing your Mom or Dad lost their lives and killed someone else to boot, just because they couldn’t bear not to have another beer or three or six before getting behind the wheel?

If it would mollify those affected by this law, I’d happily include an amendment to the resolution mandating that native-born American citizens be expatriated for felony DUI as well.

2 Responses to “DUI To Me One More Time”

  1. Joe Says:

    In principle I agree with you, immigration and residency are privileges extended to non-citizens that equate to a trial run for citizenship. As such the penalty for behaving in a manner inconsistent with citizenship should be revocation of that privilege. I do, however, have a reservation.

    Currently, immigration policy is one of the last remaining areas of American government where racism can be written into law. Lets face it; most immigrants to America are not white Europeans, so laws targeting immigrants really target minorities by proxy. Add to that selective enforcement and profiling and immigration law becomes a tool for limiting the rights of entire ethnic groups. Specifically, a policy of deportation for DUI’s essentially turns actions like sobriety checkpoints into immigration enforcement dragnets. This is especially the case if police target enforcement around immigrant neighborhoods over suburban areas.

    Right now debate over immigration policy has been hijacked by racist organizations such as the Minutemen. These organizations have found respectability by replacing citizenship for race as the standard for being identified as human. Under the cover provided by extremist rhetoric and actions from groups like the Minutemen, immigration policy is being made more reactionary without considered debate where individual rights are balanced against public safety concerns.

    I do not know the law. I cannot say whether a DUI is an equivalent crime to anything else that would get a non-citizen deported. My concern is that this is a starting point for a broader campaign targeting immigrants for deportation for more petty offences or simply based on arbitrary whim.

    For an excellent article exposing the racist genealogy of the Minutemen read this from Dave Neiwert’s blog Orcinus.

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:

    I’ll certainly agree that immigration law is meted out unevenly. Whether it’s essentially racist in its implementation is a little harder to ascertain. Like enforcement of drug laws, I think there’s probably a combination of factors in play. Certain people are easier to target than others; low income means that they can’t afford good legal representation, may suffer from language barriers, and may tend to live and congregate in larger groups, making sweeps easier for enforcers. The term “poor” may often be a greater incentive for lazy and/or understaffed, quota-driven enforcement agencies throughout government than the term “untermenschen”.

    That article was quite interesting, thank you. I often wondered what happened to the public face of racist organizations like the Christian Identity movement and the Posse Comitatus after the militia craze wore off. Seems the citizen’s border patrol movement would be a natural for them.

    I find the stance taken by even the least objectionable among these groups to be ludicrous. America has such a serious, unremitting jones for undocumented workers. If we sealed the border tomorrow, our economy would be in the toilet by the middle of next week. Who would build our homes, landscape our yards, work in our commercial sculleries, gut our steer carcasses and clean our toilets? As long as we’re unwilling to pay the real cost of the goods and services we rely on, we’re going to need people with a strong work ethic and an underdeveloped sense of entitlement to take up the slack for us.

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