Saturday, January 27, 2018

BROKEN WINDOWS AND IMMIGRATION: Let’s Stop Holding Our Laws In Contempt

immigrants on a train Getty/John Moore
The “broken windows” theory of crime and policing predicts that visible signs of minor crimes being tolerated (broken windows, graffiti, etc) will lead to an increase in more serious crimes, because they send a signal that the rule of law operates here only imperfectly. The theory is widely accepted for the simple reason that it works, but where illegal immigration is concerned it seems always to be forgotten. And yet this is where its validity is most obvious.
It is commonly said that entering the country illegally is not really a crime. This is of course factually wrong: our immigration laws do indeed make it a crime. What is really meant is that it’s not an important crime. (But surely more important than a broken window?) The results give us a resounding demonstration of just how and why the broken windows theory works: sanctuary cities, criminal gangs like MS-13 and Kate Steinle dead. These things are not unforeseeable aberrations. Condoning crime of any kind encourages contempt for the rule of law, and then anything can happen.
As a supporter of San Francisco’s sanctuary city status, Nancy Pelosi is often blamed for the Steinle tragedy, but the broken windows theory tells us that the blame really belongs elsewhere. It lies primarily with all those who have so loudly insisted that our immigration laws don’t matter and shouldn’t be enforced. They have smeared anyone who argues for enforcement as a nativist and anti-immigrant bigot, willfully ignoring the issue that animates their adversaries: a necessary respect for the rule of law, the basis of our civilization.
What then does the broken windows theory suggest we do about illegal immigration in general, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy (DACA) in particular? The real point is what we should not do: we must do nothing that undermines the rule of law.
Read the rest from John M. Ellis HERE.

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