2018-04-26 / Views

Rule of law lost in federal law, agencies

We’ve never met the man who was picked up by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, but we do know two people we trust who vouch for him. The man doesn’t have a criminal record. He does have children attending a public school here.

In short, the Hispanic man makes a perfect representation of the problems besmirching our country’s immigration system. Perhaps sensing as much, the detained “non-citizen” was released and allowed to return to Leelanau County with his next court hearing two years away.

As immigration has become such a polarizing issue, readers may interpret such a statement to their liking. Those who favor open borders believe that detaining and exporting such a person signals a great injustice and a lessening of American ideals.

Those who are ready to mix mortar and stack bricks at the border may ask, “Why was he released to take away a job from an American citizen? Shouldn’t he get in line behind legal immigrants.”

At the risk of saying nothing, both are right.

That’s what happens when laws fail to hold respect among the people they are suppose to protect.

We’ll go further. The divisiveness in immigration policy has roots in a growing lack of trust in our federal government, starting with Congress but spreading to administrative agencies. Right now so many officials are being investigated that it looks like the Salem witch hunt, with each side applauding when someone from the other side is taken down.

It’s not a Republican problem. It’s not a Democratic problem. It’s an American problem.

Our thoughts have roots in our own experiences with the feds and their insulation from every-day people. We tried for two days to talk to a spokesperson for ICE. None of our calls were returned. Guess they didn’t have to.

We had a Freedom of Information Act request made to the Department of the Interior turned down in an effort to protect the identity of bidders for a public project.

The federal government is by design the furthest from the people. And frankly, it acts like it.

For years under a Democratic president, ICE rarely showed up in Leelanau County, where migrant workers are needed for crops. Now under President Donald Trump, they’ve made a very vocal statement that has sent shudders through the migrant community.

No immigration law has changed. And Congress isn’t even discussing a bill that would let the families of illegal immigrants know just where they stand — good or bad.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once wrote, ““Commitment to the rule of law provides a basic assurance that people can know what to expect whether what they do is popular or unpopular at the time.”

That is, unless you’re in America without papers.

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