Why Can't Cops Enforce Immigration Laws?

The effort to enact Jamiel's Law is merely the latest effort to rescind or modify Special Order 40, which was intended to allay non-citizens' fear of the police and secure their cooperation in reporting crimes to the police. But today Los Angeles is a far different city from what it was in 1979, when few outside of law enforcement had even heard of the 18th Street gang. Clearly, all levels of law enforcement have failed to stem the tide of criminals crossing our borders, resulting in an ever-lengthening list of abominations typified by the murder of Jamiel Shaw. (Los Angeles blogger Patterico, on whose site I'm privileged to be an occasional guest poster, runs a continuing series he calls "Deport the Criminals First." Don't read it if you aren't prepared to be outraged.)

But any attempts to further involve LAPD officers in immigration enforcement must sail into strong political headwinds. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (who was shameless enough to attend Jamiel Shaw's funeral) is a former president of the L.A. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and he still embraces that organization's views on immigrants' rights. The mayor's views are shared by majorities on the city council and police commission, and of course by LAPD Chief William Bratton, who, ever the chameleon, is only too happy to adopt the prevailing political opinions in whichever city he happens to be employed.

Matters will no doubt be made worse -- far, far worse -- with the installation of the Obama administration in January. Anyone who thinks Eric Holder, Obama's nominee for attorney general, will be a vigilant defender of the borders is sadly deluded, and there is little chance Holder will facilitate the type of local-federal cooperation envisioned in Jamiel's Law. A steady influx of immigrants, after all, suits the needs of two very powerful interests in Washington, D.C. Business interests, as represented by the otherwise sober Wall Street Journal editorial page, seek to keep labor costs low by importing wave after wave of poor and unskilled workers, with each wave willing to work for less than the one that preceded it. And Democrats are of course gleeful at the prospect of granting amnesty -- and eventually the franchise -- to those millions of people, who will look to the government (read Democrats) to lift them from their poverty.

If the illegal alien problem has not yet arrived in your community, you won't have long to wait. Some will call it progress, and they won't mind a bit if a few people get killed -- or raped or robbed or what have you -- as a cost of it.