TO STU Bykofsky: As I fan, I thought you should know that your column on ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and Mayor Nutter's policy reads like the fearmongering and cliche xenophobic drivel I would expect from Fox News.
I highly recommend you spend some time with actual immigrants, who are juxtaposed between corporate exploitation of migrant undocumented workers and complex legal policies that serve no one but attorneys and law firms.
Our federal and state policies do not go after or apprehend criminals; ICE fills cells at for-profit detention centers similar to how the war on drugs has served as an investment platform for privatized prisons.
Kudos to Stu for arguing a politically incorrect position on illegal immigrants. Two additional points:
As has been pointed out, we are only talking about people arrested for crimes. Isn't it obvious that Nutter's policy will make Philadelphians less safe? Also, common sense dictates that Philadelphia's failure to cooperate with federal authorities will act as a magnet for illegal immigrants. Won't the services that they require be another burden on our already overburdened taxpayers? Doesn't anybody care about them?
Let me also point out that I'm running for City Council in the special election on May 20 and seemed to have been the only one willing to speak out against Nutter's policy on TV and radio the day it happened. Glad to see Stu join in.
I retired from the police department as a deputy commissioner, and I actually started the cooperation with the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) many years ago. Agents approached me and asked for our arrest information from the day before with the idea of detaining illegals who had been arrested for any crime. We supplied INS this information for many years. PARS [Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System] largely automated the same type of information.
Nutter's order has potentially very serious implications for the city. First, when someone is arrested the police do a background check. But they don't find out the arrest record of an illegal since we don't have access to those records. He may have stolen a car here but raped someone in his home country - we don't know. Secondly, the FTA (failure to appear) for court appearances is so high, the chances you will see that same person again is slim to none. Not only won't he be convicted, the judge will issue a bench warrant when he doesn't show and we will have to try to arrest him all over again.
Research has shown us that we arrest a person for only a small fraction of the actual crimes he has committed. Is this really the first time he stole a car? Why take the chance on releasing a person who should not be here in the first place back onto the streets when we know the chances are incredibly high that he is going to commit more crimes?
I might see sliding someone for a summary offense but the restriction that it has to be a felony conviction has effectively let foreign criminals roam our streets with virtually no chance of punishment. They won't show up for court and the only way to catch them is if we arrest them a second time. But, don't forget, under the mayor's order even if the person was arrested a second time after an FTA, since he wasn't convicted the first time ICE would not be notified.
I appreciated your write-up about the Liberty Place/Black Israelites saga. I live in South Philly and rarely venture downtown. I used to hear this group when they would be on Market Street. I think it is beyond a shame and sad that these people use the tactics they use to spread their message.
I am glad to hear that Liberty Place takes this as seriously as they do and that they do not appear to be giving up this fight. The DJ idea is wonderful and it was good to hear about. I realize this issue doesn't rise to the same level of importance as the corrupt cops scandal, however, I would love to see the Daily News feel the sickness that is felt by citizens who must hear this as they walk down the street. Why not use the influence of the paper to get these hate mongers off the street? If the Daily News is truly the "People Paper," why not help the people out, lean on the city a bit and let them know that the citizens are paying the price for this?
Huffing and puffing
I strongly disagree with the term "small-time crooks" (in the story "Weed Bill Would Lessen Penalties") when referring to responsible adults who choose to use cannabis (marijuana). Law-enforcement agencies and governments who cage responsible adults for using the God-given plant are the crooks.