San Francisco …. bastion of extreme liberalism … or so people think. The problem with extreme liberalism or extreme conservatism is that it is well …. extreme, even when well meaning and frought with the best of intentions.
One Edwin Ramos gets proturbed with backed up traffic in an intersection. He gets out of his vehicle, brandishes his AK-47 and murders a 49 year-old man and this 20 and 16-year old sons. Thank goodness they have that hand gun ban in place!
Here’s what complicates the problem: Mr. Ramos is an undocumented alien. Now, I will be the first to say that aliens are as law abiding as anyone, and anyone who thinks this is a cause to bar immigrants or something is not hearing the point of the story.
San Frnacisco has a standing policy since 1989 of not turning over certain undocumented aliens to INS …. and has been doing so at considerable tax payer cost. To state the case, SF has been turning over any adults known to have committed a felony. Even underage persons convicted of felonies were not turned over (this was overturned by the mayor of SF in May this year).
Many juveniles were put up in housing. Some criminals with non-felony background were put in minimal security half-way homes. In the case of some drug offenses, the City of San Francisco paid to have the offenders flown back to their home nation. Why? Because if they were turned over to INS, the belief was that they would be barred from ever returning to the United States.
Mr. Ramos, as is coming to light, was convicted of two felonies, and was reputed to have ties to a large El Salvadoran gang, the second one was the possession of a firearm used in a double homicide. He still was not turned over to INS.
Now first: Mr. Ramos is pleading innocent. There is little doubt he was present, but it may have been one of two other men who pulled the trigger. He has not been convicted yet.
The anti-immigration forces are of course circling the wagons, and getting ready to pin the tail on the left wing.
For what its worth, I do not side with anti-immigration folks. All I would ask is that anyone who wants in come through normal channels. I could frankly care less where they come from. Yes, if you have a criminal history, in most cases we will be keeping you out. If the problem is with quotas being set too low, than those quotas need to be the focus of change. This crime changes nothing.
But … it does shed light on something: what gives any city the right to simply refuse to go along with a federal law? I would be the first to say: defiance of an unjust law is fine, but this seems to be going to extreme for the sake of making a point.
This is essentially what historians call nullification. It is historically somewhat dangerous:
1798: two exceptional people, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison pen what are known as the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which claim that the recently passed Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional, and that they were not to be followed in their states. Alexander Hamilton suggested that sending the army would be a good idea to test just how much these renegade states were willing to stand up. Given that there were no other states to support them, it went no further. Heart in the right place, but the Civil War might have broken out there and then under slightly different circumstances.
1814: the Hartford Convention essentially seeks to nullify Thomas Jefferson’s 1807 Embargo Act which hamstrung the New England economy. There was even talk of New England seceding from the Union.
1833: perhaps as close as we got to a Civil War before we really did, the nullification crisis of 1828 which saw South Carolina nullify a federal tarriff. South Carolina raised a 25,000 person army ready to act in the event federal officials attempted to enforce the law, and the idea of secession started to spread across the South. It was finally settled, but some say that at this point, any chance of preventing the Civil War was gone … it was just a matter of time.
There were others, and again I reiterate that an immoral law is not anything we should have to follow, but it also goes to show that when sub governmental units aren’t careful, even when they have the best of intentions, invariably these things do not have the happiest of outcomes. I hope that the gentler angels of our natures will win out on this one.