This week, several hundred illegal immigrants staged a protest rally across from the White House demanding that President Obama “keep his promise” and use his executive authority to extend “deferred deportation” to millions of illegally immigrants.
I am adamantly convinced that our government has to do something decisive about the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, and also that it must do whatever it does in such a way that neither makes the United States look like Nazi Germany expatriating the Jews, nor provides incentives for every aspiring border jumper to take a shot at American largesse. It doesn’t matter how I think this should be done: solving policy problems is what we elect officials and pay government employees to do, and do wisely. However, I have every right to make my opinion known to those policy-makers, and to insist that they act as part of their duties to the American public.
Illegal immigrants and their families, however, have no such rights, not any standing to demand any policies whatsoever. Their conduct has created the problem, which challenges our laws and law enforcement, burdens our budgets, and divides our society. Continue reading
“You have to take it this time, honey, because the law says you’re a nuisance if you call the cops again…”
Did you know that many cities and towns across the country have what are called “nuisance ordinances,” “crime-free ordinances,” or “disorderly behavior ordinances,” that subject landlords and tenants to fines when the police respond to a proscribed number of “disorderly behavior” complaints within a designated period of time? Such ordinances specifically include “domestic disturbances” as among the forms of disorderly conduct that be punished under the law.
What are the predictable consequences of such laws? Landlords evict tenants who cause them to be fined…including women who call the police because they are being beaten by their husbands or boyfriends. The laws, therefore, penalize the victims of domestic abuse, and create a powerful disincentive for them to report it, since they must, in effect, choose between a beating and homelessness. They also tend to affect single mothers and those who live in poor neighborhoods.
Wait…what? What idiots would pass such a cruel and stupid law? The answer, unfortunately, is lots of idiots, because elected officials, as a general rule, are wretched at ethics chess, among other skills. They don’t think about the unfair and irresponsible results of their well-meaning, bone-headed, poorly drafted and ill-conceived laws by considering their likely consequences two, three and four moves ahead, which is what ethics chess requires. A law can have unethical and unintended outcomes that render it far worse than whatever it is the measure was intended to address, but determining what those outcomes are takes more care, diligence, intelligence and patience than most of our elected officials can muster. Continue reading