Wednesday, May 26, 2010


You might think this would give supporters of the Arizona immigration law pause, but trust me, you'd be mistaken:

Arizona's new crackdown on illegal immigration will increase crime in U.S. cities, not reduce it, by driving a wedge between police and immigrant communities, police chiefs from several of the state's and the nation's largest cities said Tuesday.

The new Arizona law will intimidate crime victims and witnesses who are illegal immigrants and divert police from investigating more serious crimes, chiefs from Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia said. They will join their counterparts from Montgomery County and a half-dozen other U.S. cities in meeting Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday morning to discuss the measure.

"This is not a law that increases public safety. This is a bill that makes it much harder for us to do our jobs," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said. "Crime will go up if this becomes law in Arizona or in any other state." ...

I'm old enough to remember the 1960s and 1970s, when one of the principal issues that determined where you were on the culture-war divide was whether you admired the police or thought of them as the "pigs." By the Reagan era it was clear that the right was winning the culture wars, so when crime rose in the 1980s and the early part of the 1990s, and police commissioners hired by tough-guy, law-and-order mayors like Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani said that reasonable gun laws would be extremely helpful to them in their fight against crime, I naively thought it might have a significant influence on public opinion. These weren't criminology professors in tweed with elbow patches, fer crissake. These were old-school flatfoots. These were the heroes of the Nixon-era backlash against the left. Surely attention would be paid.

It wasn't. It didn't matter. The gun lobby, and the right in general, were deemed to know more about fighting crime than, y'know, people who fight crime for a living. Gun control talk from big city police commissioners hasn't move the needle one bit; in fact, the needle has moved very far in the other direction.

The same thing is going to happen in this situation. Yes, angry whites want law enforcement to fight crime -- but they're not going to listen to the experts on the best way to do that, because an illegal immigrant crackdown is just too emotionally satisfying. Besides, talk-radio blatherers tell them every day that cracking down on illegals will reduce crime -- and those talkers know everything about everything, don't they?

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