Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Frederick County's Immigration Proposal Fails

An effort by Frederick County Commissioner Charles Jenkins to limit some social services spending on illegal immigrants failed by a 3-2 vote last night. In its place was a ridiculous call from Commission President Jan Gardner and Commissioner David Gray to ask the General Assembly to pass a resolution that
called for the state and federal governments to solve a "dysfunctional national immigration system and policy," and to stop asking local governments to foot the bill for the impact of illegal immigrants.

It proposed no county action, instead urging specific measures for state and federal leaders to take and requesting they read e-mails sent to the commissioners and view a DVD recording of last week's public hearing on the proposal.

No concrete action other than watching TV is called for. Like the Delegates are going to have time to do that! Gardner and Gray are simply living in a dream land quite apart from you and I. Said Gardner:
The resolution tried to acknowledge the issues and direct positive community dialogue that isn't divisive.
While I admit that Jenkins' proposal resulted in a divisive debate, it became divisive by the interest groups involved in the matter. The proposal itself is about allocating scarce resources, should it go to those who are citizens and those in this country legally or should it go to those who disregard our laws with apparent impunity? Granted, some aspects of Jenkins' proposal were of questionable constitutionality, it doesn't mean it is unworthy of a real debate in Annapolis.

Commissioner Gray also floored me with his belief that a mid-size county in a mid-to smallish state is going to have an impact on the Federal Government's policy. As I said, a dream land:
Gray said he hoped it could spur the federal government to make some changes and give people hope a solution can be found.

"It's putting people at each other's throats unnecessarily and I think that's sad," Gray said.
It is never to going to spur the federal government to do anything since the touchy-feely resolution is never going to pass Annapolis, let alone make any dent in federal immigration policy. Is it sad that we are at each other's throats policitcally, yes, it is. But we as a county have been put in this position by a failure of the federal and state governments. It is time that we be the ones to step up to the plate and help ourselves, because surely no one else is going to do it.

Jenkins is right, though a resolution to call for a resolution is a pointless exercise and really a waste of the Commission's time as well as that of the Frederick County General Assembly delegation.

I hope Jenkins takes on this issue next year. I suggest he modify his proposal to take out his weakest link--education services. Education is a tender subject and his proposal was of questionable legality. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that a state could not deny public education benefits to illegal immigrants. While the Court has changed and the immigration picture as well, denying an education is a tricky solution.

If Jenkins were to carve out education services and beef up his argument about spending, he may have a better chance next year.

Cross Posted at RedMaryland.

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