The new ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’

I never thought of the desert town of Pahrump a bastion of Political Correctness, but new Nye County Assessor Shirley Matson seems to have stirred some PC ire, west of the mountain, by sending a quasi-official email to Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo, asking to him to determine whether allegedly non-English-speaking laborers working to build the county’s new Pahrump jail are U.S. citizens or otherwise qualified to work on such a government project.

That is, whether they’re illegal aliens.

The weekly Pahrump Valley Times, owned by the same outfit as my home paper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, condemned Matson’s “racist antics” in a front page editorial last week, calling for her resignation.

(On March 25, Matson, an independent elected official, was “reprimanded” by the Nye County Commission. I’m sure she’s heartbroken.)

The sheriff reportedly said he was “sickened” by the racist implications of the inquiry, and refused to check, because he said he had no legal reason to check.

Then, this week, the jail contractor, Utah-based Layton Construction, provided evidence to Matson that all its employees and those of its subcontractors are either U.S. citizens or have legal work visas.

So, if it was so offensive to “ask,” why did the Layton folks bother to “tell”?

Since speaking English is a condition of citizenship, maybe Ms. Matson was misinformed about whether the workers can speak English.

Surely some of her other reported comments — at least one of which was a years-old comment re-dated to make it appear recent, according to her attorney, Nancy Lord — have not been overly delicate. It appears Ms. Matson believes female illegal immigrants purposely get pregnant and bear children here in order to make it harder to deport them and their families, that “dirty filthy Mexican/Latino illegals … steal Social Security numbers,” and that illegal immigrants are “locusts” devouring the nation’s resources.

This is not nice talk. Certainly we can cringe at the way this lady sometimes chooses to express herself. If it can be shown her attitude has any impact on how she executes the duties of her office in regards to people of Hispanic ancestry, that would be a serious problem.

If we presume that words like “locusts” are used metaphorically, however — that Ms. Matson doesn’t really believe people from Mexico are insects — the fact remains that, stripped of its rhetorical excess, most of this stuff is, well, true.

In order to work, illegal aliens frequently write down 9-digit numbers on employment forms asking for Social Security numbers. Even assuming they (or whoever sells them their fake documents) make these numbers up out of thin air, some of those numbers will still doubtless have been assigned to real living Americans, whose identities are thus stolen, putting them in jeopardy if, for instance, the person using their identity gets charged with a crime. Can anyone deny this?

Children born here to illegal aliens are considered automatic U.S. citizens under the current prevailing interpretation of the 14th amendment — though that could be challenged, on grounds that such parents are not under proper U.S. “jurisdiction.” Such children certainly do become de facto “anchor babies,” leading to much wailing and gnashing of the teeth should anyone seek to deport their parents.

And the impact of non-paying illegal aliens on the incipient bankruptcy of our hospital emergency rooms and tax-supported public schools, particularly here in the Southwest, cannot be denied.

Do the non-English-speakers in our hospital emergency rooms generally produce wads of greenbacks when seeking treatment, insisting on paying their full obligation in cash?

(Actually, a few legitimate foreign tourists do just this. Freshman Congressman Joe Heck, a physician, told me last week this happened one night while he was on duty in a local emergency room — and so unaccustomed to such offers was the staff that no one in the entire hospital could tell the gentleman what he owed. But come on: most illegal aliens are using our high-cost emergency rooms as their family dispensaries precisely because the folks who run such operations are convinced they have to provide free services, which most private doctors will not.)

If pointing such things out — and insisting he enforce the law, or call in those who can enforce it — makes Sheriff DeMeo “sick,” one wonders if he has the stomach for the job.

Last December, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen announced his deputies had arrested 21 illegal aliens who had been working at a taxpayer-funded construction site in Panama City, Fla.

Deputies stopped a truck being driven erratically just after it left the construction site. When they discovered the driver had a suspended license, he admitted to being in the country illegally. The driver also told deputies that he lived with 16 other illegal aliens in two nearby homes.

When Bay County deputies arrived at the houses, five people crawled out of a window, but were caught a short time later. The rest surrendered without incident and were processed into the federal ICE 287g program; six were charged with criminal use of personal information for using stolen Social Security numbers.

Sheriff McKeithen seems to have felt he had grounds to “ask.” Do Sheriff McKeithern’s actions make Sheriff DeMeo “sick”?

Lots of Americans — a majority, I suspect — are equally “sickened” by the refusal of our government at any level to enforce our immigration laws.

The amnesty gang claim they want immigration law “reform,” but — since no such “reform” could retroactively grant amnesty to those already here illegally — I doubt it.

This country has too many laws; many should be repealed. But we should start in areas where Congress now meddles without Constitutional authorization. The Constitution, on the other hand, specifically empowers and even assigns Congress the duty to create uniform laws for immigration and naturalization.

What the amnesty gang really mean is that we should ignore those laws, hammered out and revised over the years in a spirit of compromise — and simply allow our emotions to guide us, instead.

These illegals are nice folks who just want better lives for their families, the amnesty gang argue.

Many are. But does this mean we should suspend all immigration enforcement, inviting millions of illiterates with no capital, no job skills, no English, and no notion of our tradition of constitutional government to swarm here by boat or plane, camping out in our public parks, driving down wages and bankrupting our public institutions?

There is a precedent for what can happen in such circumstances — especially if you then layer on a serious economic recession. Under those circumstances, people have been known to take the law into their own hands.

What if mobs of vigilantes started rounding up illegal aliens for do-it-yourself deportations?

I’m not proposing anyone do that. That would be terrible. For one thing, vigilante justice knows little of due process and the rules of evidence. Many fine, upstanding American citizens may “look” or “sound” Latin American.

What I’m saying is, when no one in power will enforce the laws, desperate people have been known to do such things. And what could the amnesty gang say if they did?

After all, such a mob of vigilantes would doubtless explain, “There’s no need to obey the law. No one enforces the law any more, or pays any penalty for breaking the law, so don’t give us that. Instead, we’re just doing what the amnesty gang told us to do — whatever feels right to us emotionally. Since the illegals are bankrupting the schools and hospitals and putting us out of work through their willingness to live eight to a house and labor for $4 an hour, we’re just ‘good people watching out for our own families,’ who deserve to be forgiven for ignoring the law, same as them.”

If you want unlimited immigration, start by getting rid of tax-funded schools, emergency rooms, and other “social services.”

Meantime, even when the laws are admittedly imperfect, the benefit of the rule of law is that most folks shrug and agree to abide by a uniform set of rules, in order to gain the greater goods of predictability and civil order.

Those who seek not merely to revise or repeal imperfect laws, but to encourage a climate of lawlessness, branding as “racist” and thus dismissing those who stand up for the enforcement of the law, beckon the whirlwind.

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