- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Many years ago, the legendary comedian Groucho Marx sang a song with the refrain, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” Marx’s satire provides an apt description of the approach taken by local politicians opposed to vigorous enforcement of immigration laws, whether by federal, state or local government.

Last week, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments held a summit on the illegal alien/day-laborer issue. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, the people in attendance (virtually all of them liberal Democrats or representatives of open-borders advocacy groups such as CASA of Maryland) used the meeting to focus on ways to facilitate the violation of federal immigration law in the metropolitan area.

The assembled politicians — among them Herndon Mayor Michael O’Reilly, Montgomery County Council President Tom Perez and Takoma Park Mayor Kathy Porter — realizing that their own constituents aren’t thrilled with the idea of dozens of men (the overwhelming majority of them illegally in the United States) loitering in parking lots, drinking and harassing female pedestrians. So, they propose to deflect attention from this form of suburban blight by creating so-called family-support centers to assist local immigrants.

We certainly have no objection to helping immigrants if they are legally in the United States. The problem, of course, is that for the liberal ideologues who attended the COG meeting, it is objectionable to make distinctions between immigrants who follow the rules and those who flout the law. Anyone with the temerity to suggest that illegal aliens be treated differently from people who obey the law will invariably be depicted as backward and bigoted by the advocacy groups.

At the COG meeting, Walter Tejada, an Arlington County Board member, echoed the position taken by Virginia Gov.-elect Tim Kaine during the recent campaign: that the illegal alien day-laborer issue is a purely “local” one and that the federal and state governments should butt out (except, presumably, when it comes to providing taxpayer money to subsidize such facilities). Yet even as they encourage illegals to live and work in the Washington area, these politicians disingenuously assert that immigration enforcement is a purely federal responsibility, and that state and local police have no legitimate roles to play in assisting in the enforcement of our immigration laws.

The bottom line behind these semantic games is that Mr. Tejada and CASA are opposed to any meaningful efforts by any government to enforce our immigration laws.

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