Cardinal Roger Mahony had a simple and supportive message for the tens of thousands of demonstrators in Los Angeles who were protesting against Arizona's attempt to crackdown on illegal immigrants: "Everyone in God's eyes is legal."
I should use that line the next time I get stopped by a cop for speeding. "Hello officer, good day, I'm totally legal in God's eyes."
I got ticketed twice this year for speeding in exactly the same spot on the way to D.C. The cop sits a few miles south of Breezewood on I-70 on this nice downhill straightaway, just a few minutes after you get off the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The goofy part, aside from being a slow learner, is that I was heading for Washington to tell the government crooks to get out of my wallet and they got me twice more, for $270, before I was even half way there.
Mahony, head of the Los Angeles Roman Catholic archdiocese, the largest archdiocese in the U.S., offered this non-infallible explanation about why Arizona's new law on illegal immigration is wrong: "The tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense."
On the robbing and plundering part, public policy scholar Heather MacDonald specifically cited the connection between immigration policy, illegals and crime in Los Angeles in "The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave" in the Winter 2004 edition of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.
"Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens," reported MacDonald, a contributing editor at City Journal and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. "Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is the highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking."
The criminals in these gangs, repeatedly going down and up from El Salvador to the United States like yo-yos, are the beneficiaries of a don't-ask-don't-tell immigration policy.
"These police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony," explained MacDonald. "Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD's rule against enforcing immigration law."
Rooted in ideas like Mahony's "Everyone in God's eyes is legal," policies establishing "sanctuary" basically prohibit city employees, including the police, in Los Angeles and other cities from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities.
The result of this upside down world where law enforcement is illegal and illegals are legal? "In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens," reported MacDonald. "Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens."
Additionally, a "confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in Southern California is illegal," wrote MacDonald. "The bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations."
MacDonald's conclusion: "The immigrant population has grown so large that public officials are terrified of alienating it, even at the expense of ignoring the law and tolerating violence."
Or, as MacDonald more succinctly said it, "Immigrant pandering has trumped public safety." And cardinals end up looking the other way in order to fill the pews and keep the weekly cash flowing in the Sunday envelops.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
Ralph R. Reiland