Protecting us from the hordes

With budget cuts threatening the very existence of school districts around the state, and financial cuts disrupting the smooth functioning of counties and municipalities alike, it’s comforting to know our legislative representatives in Lansing are fully focused on the job at hand.

With a ton of work still to be done on approving, disapproving, or at least adjusting Gov. Rick Snyder’s a proposed budget, it’s good to know legislators are burning the midnight oil.

What’s even more comforting is knowing they are keeping us safe from threats — known and unknown.

They are making sure we Michiganders are best protected from an invading horde of illegal immigrants.

Our legislators are working hard on House Bill No. 4305 — named “The Support Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” and tagged “A bill to provide for the determination of the immigration status of persons present in this state under certain circumstances ...”


Important stuff.

The good folks in Michigan’s House of Representatives realize that even while trying to keep the state fiscally alive, they still must make sure to keep an wary eye on the “Brown Peril.”

Sponsoring representatives, including 112th District Rep. Phil Potvin, have signed off on a law that will make sure law enforcement agencies know what to do if they are someday, somehow faced with dealing with illegal aliens ... or perceived illegals.

Funny thing is ... law enforcement agencies already know what to do.

They have the situation covered.

So why is it necessary to create, discuss, and vote on HB 4305?

Because it appeals to “The Base.” That’s why.

As noted, HB 4305 is a bill that provides legal tools for “the determination of the immigration status of persons present in this state under certain circumstances.”

Law enforcement agencies, (or at least most of them), already have policy tools in place to deal with both documented and undocumented aliens.

For example, the Michigan State Police, (a pretty good standard by any measure), has a clear and specific Standard Operating Procedures for dealing with illegal aliens in its “how to” handbook of Official Orders.

It reads in part, (and only in part):

“Enforcement members are authorized to arrest and detain a person who: Is an alien illegally present in the United States ...” The order then gives qualifications and notes “The individual may be detained only for such a period of time as may be required for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to take the person into Federal custody for purposes of deporting or removing the alien from the United States.”

There’s a very detailed description of the how, why, and when, of dealing with illegal aliens.

Why is it then so important to get “The Support Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” on the books?

I’m sure MSP Troopers and law enforcement officers around the state would rather have the legislature dealing with the problems of operational funding then creating a thinly veiled, knee-jerk “Support Law Enforcement ...” act that really does nothing to support law enforcement at all.

Not to mention the mildly confusing language used in the bill co-sponsored by Potvin and others.

The proposed act reads:

“When a law enforcement officer has lawfully stopped, detained, or arrested, for violation of a law of this state ... a person who is or should reasonably be suspected of being unlawfully present in the United States, a complete, full, and appropriate attempt will be made to verify the person’s immigration status ...”

OK. Fine.

That’s already covered as Standard Operating Procedure with law enforcement as noted in MSP Order No. 36.

But HB 4305 also reads:

“A law enforcement officer, with or without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”

Being in the United States without proper documentation, (e.g. a visa), is a “public offense that makes a person removable from the United States.”

So, it stands to reason that if there is a law enforcement officer who simply believes a person may be in the U.S. without proper papers, on no basis other than he has “probable cause to believe” this person MAY be an undocumented alien, the law enforcement officer could make an arrest or detain the person on that basis alone.

And what could possibly give a law enforcement agent the “belief” that a person MIGHT be guilty of the offense of being undocumented???

Well, it wouldn’t be that that the suspect looks ... Canadian.

No matter how you spin it, the detention would be made because the person looks a little too South of the Border-esque. (In other words, Hispanic.)

This bill is poorly constructed, and even more poorly considered at a time when there are much, much, much more important things to be worrying about in the State of Michigan.

Mr. Potvin and friends would be making better use of the taxpayer’s time and the taxpayer’s dime if they were dealing with issues of import, and not issues that make Michigan out to be as backward as Arizona has demonstrated itself to be.