- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2010

D.C. keeps shooting itself in the foot. Last week, Democrats rightly withdrew congressional legislation that would have granted a vote to the city’s nonvoting delegate, and Arizona laid down the law on illegal immigration.

This week, D.C. lawmakers are expected to learn whether the city has deficits or surpluses and fashion explanations for Congress, and the open-borders crowd yells, “May Day, May Day,” in rallies across the nation.

Next week, two D.C. lawmakers are expected to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with legislation that would handcuff police to “immigration un-enforcement.”

If the proposal isn’t tamped down, it could pose new problems for D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who would be expected to beat back congressional intervention.

The Arizona law has folks in a frenzy - and well it should.

The measure empowers police to do what they always have done, and that is to ask someone to produce identification.

For the average Joe Sixpack, that ID is usually a driver’s license and/or a work ID with a photo. If Skip Gates of Harvard University had been permitted to produce ID when he was suspected of burglarizing his own home, President Obama would have had to find another reason to have a mini beer confab at public expense.

Now, instead of a respectable less-filling/tastes-great debate, we could be in for a nasty brawl.

On one side stand law-and-order/states’ rights advocates, and on the other, lawbreakers and their enablers.

It’s that simple: If you are in this country illegally and cannot prove who you are - or, for that matter, who you aren’t - then you are in trouble.

This is not South Africa. This is not the Old South. This is not the Gestapo visiting upon our republic.

This is not about driving while black, and it’s not about racial profiling or civil rights.

If you are a visitor whose standing falls outside the perimeters of the law, then get your house (wherever that may be) in order.

As for City Hall, D.C. Council members Jim Graham and Phil Mendelson, who are up for re-election, plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit police from joining a federal fingerprint program that matches prints with criminal suspects. As it happens, the prints also allow law enforcers to determine whether an immigrant is here legally or not.

The proposal would piggyback on a long-standing policy that prohibits D.C. police officers from engaging in federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Mr. Graham, a spokesman said, has always supported immigrants’ civil rights.

How could he not when he represents the most ethnically and racially diverse ward in the city, with eateries and shops catering to the Spanish and Dutch, the Palestinians and Israelis, and everyone in between. Phil Mendelson (who likes to remind me he is a Democrat, not a Socialist) is in a citywide race, so he can’t cast aspersions upon any voting bloc.

In the meantime, immigration activists want D.C. to divest in Arizona-based businesses, and a draft resolution could come as early as next week. Oy vey.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, who works closely with federal law enforcers, says she supports joining forces with the fingerprint program, which is part of the federal Secure Communities initiative. After all, there are more than two dozen federal law enforcement agencies in the city, so the partnerships are not without precedence.

If Democrats in City Hall want to get a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T from their Democratic friends on Capitol Hill, they should stop pretending D.C. is a state.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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