National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Chief of Police: Taking Back Immigration Policy from Smugglers

March 23, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas



Photo by CJ Sorg


 


Conservative syndicated columnist George F. Will provides insight on the current conditions at the border from a local law enforcement perspective. His syndicated column —published in the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Post, Arizona Daily Star among others — featured Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, firmly emphasizing that any long-term solution to security and anti-smuggling efforts must include reforming immigration, as it will help weaken smugglers benefiting from the chaotic immigration situation,


 


…Harris says, “The answer is not in Phoenix. The answer is in Washington.” We know how to close a border, says Harris with acid dryness — “ build a wall” and deploy “machine gun nests.” But, “I personally think that is stupid.” For now, however, the United States “has turned immigration policy over to Mexican thugs.”


 


But “don’t give me 50 more” officers to “deal with the symptoms.” Rather, says Harris, who was raised in a rough Phoenix neighborhood, give me comprehensive immigration reform that controls the borders, provides for whatever seasonal immigration the nation wants, and one way or another settles the status of the 12 million who are here illegally — 55 percent of whom have been here at least eight years.


 


The piece delves into the complexity of the situation in Phoenix, often simplified by newspaper headlines,


 


[Chief Harris] is weary of explaining that this is one of America’s safest large cities, with declining rates of violent crime and property crime, even though it has one of the nation’s highest rates of home foreclosures. Unfortunately, there are the kidnappings


 


….There were 368 reported kidnappings for ransom here last… It is difficult to know how many kidnappings occurred there or here: Many are not reported because it can be dangerous to do so. And because they are settled before there is time to report them


 


 But some of the people become pawns in horrific transactions. A person in the United States might pay, say, $2,500 to have someone smuggled into the country, and then might receive a phone call: Pay another $5,000 and we will stop raping or torturing — do you hear the screams? — the person you want.


 


The conservative writer goes on to explain that the kidnapping problem is not caused by a high criminality rate in the city but by the lucrative business of human smuggling,


 


In any case, law-abiding citizens here are rarely at risk. Most of the kidnappings are drug smugglers and human traffickers preying on one another.


 


Phoenix’s familiar sorts of crimes have not much to do with most of the city’s immigrants, legal or illegal. They commit a smaller percentage of the crimes (10 percent) than they are of the city’s population (24 percent). But the lurid crimes that are giving this city an unmerited reputation as dangerous represent the seepage of the Mexican cartels into his city.


 


Immigration reform key to troubles along the border, March 21, 2009


 


We cannot allow coyotes and smugglers to further exploit our dysfunctional immigration system to finance their illicit transactions. We need a system that regulates immigration efficiently and responds to the labor and economic needs of our country; a system where immigrants are allowed to come vetted and with a visa rather than uninspected and with a smuggler. 

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