Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 13 at 6:30 pm. Aim your S.U.V.s at the City County Building. Take the elevator to the third floor. Bring your righteous indignation. Make your voices heard to the heavens.
That is when and where the Dane County Immigration Task Force is taking public comment on its proposals to tie the hands of our law enforcement authorities in their struggle to preserve public order.
I attended Monday's meeting. Let's start by renaming it the Dane County "Illegal" Immigration Task Force.
The Dane County Board formed the task force. The majority liberals are irked that Sheriff Dave Mahoney calls the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service whenever someone without proper identification is deposited into his jail.
The Sheriff explains that he does so for the safety of his deputies and the other inmates. "I want to know who is in my jail," he told me Monday.
But the Illegal Immigration Task Force would like to bind the sheriff's hands.
It is considering a recommendation that reads:
The Dane County Sheriff's Office will end the current practice of contacting ICE for cases involving processing of non-U.S. citizen detainees.
The task force is also considering modifying that language to limit the sheriff to calling the feds when the inmate is alleged to have committed a "minor offense."
Thus, an inmate brought in on a relatively minor infraction could well be a cut-throat murder, a soldier in Mexico's drug cartels. ICE would know that but the liberals named to the Task Force don't want him to do so.
Mahoney says the ICE has pinpointed that a vicious gang known as MS-13 has moved from El Salvador into Mexico and from there into Madison, WI. That could well be the gang affiliation of the three people named in the death of a 19-year-old shot and killed on Fordem Street on the city's northeast side last week. All involved were illegal aliens.
Who's on this task force? It is chaired by a very patient Luis Yudice, a former Madison police captain who keeps his cards close to his vest. It is co-chaired by Ramona Natera and includes Melanie Hampton (by day a Madison police officer) and Diane Hesselbein from the County Board, Madison Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, unionized Madison teacher Jon Hawkins, Renee Bauer (who carried a bag labeled "Interfaith Worker Justice"), and Sheriff Mahoney.
It is considering a total of 11 recommendations but the jail inquiry to Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the key one.
Here is its rationale:
"Attempts to utilize local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws ... have had the effect of alienating the immigrant communities and reducing cooperation with the police. The consequence of creating fears ... discourage(s) the reporting of crime."
"Poisoning the well," is how Hawkins put it.
Underneath the flag of Mexico the U.S. standard is flown upside down at Montebello High School, California
Poison in the well
Know what? The well IS poisoned. But the task force has causation and effect backwards.
The poison is systemic in the very fact of illegal immigration. By not enforcing immigration law, America has permitted a clandestine population estimated at over 12 million (double Wisconsin's total head count) to warp a nation's values. America is now a two-tiered society -- not the disgraced John Edwards' haves and have-nots. There is the Americans of full citizenship of every ethnicity. Below it is a second-class underground society. It is a caste that was bred in the dark of night, that entered by the back door through a haze of illegality, and deceit. It lives a poorly paid and furtive life under the cover of lies and in the constant presence of fear and distrust.
It is preposterous to suppose that in such fertile manure, cutthroats, drug runners, and predators of all types would not pour through our porous borders along with the majority seeking a better life and use that majority as welcome "cover."
Yet, the solution offered by the establishment Left to this contempt for law is to hamper law enforcement!
Oh, how the members of MS-13 must have chuckled at Saturday's pro-illegal immigration rally at the Capitol and its piglike caricatures of the sheriff.
Many of those illegal immigrants prey on their fellow countrymen (they're not Americans).
Madame Brenda pouts
Ran into that irrepressible madcap, Madame Brenda, at the Immigration Task Force. Her blog scores Sheriff Mahoney for being "pouty" and "unprofessional."
Hardly! I was impressed by his forbearance in face of the task force's arrogance and rampant stupidity. At one point, an officeholder member of the task force proposed that, after meeting 13 times since September, the group should recommend that "someone" write a new ICE policy. Chairman Yudice pointed out that that "someone" would be Sheriff Mahoney.
Now, here is the bottom line: no one can tell an elected sheriff in the state of Wisconsin how to run his jail. Rick Raemisch, two sheriff's ago, told me that the state constitution gives the sheriff unique powers in that regard.
Sheriff Mahoney gives every indication that he will stay the course.
Even so, I encourage tea partiers and sideline sitters to come May 13 to give this sheriff some support on this issue, although I have disagreed with David Mahoney on other matters. Because, to this point, the task force has heard only from the special pleaders.
Madison Teachers Inc. should feel the pain
Of course, the Madison School Board is freezing the pay of custodians, clerical staff, administrators, and teaching assistants. The school board, like every unit of government in this Great Recession, like every family in this Great Recession, is short of money.
Now let's roll the clock back 18 months ago, to the fall of 2008. The Madison School Board was into voters' pockets for permission to exceed the state revenue caps by $13 million a year. Because the state's school funding formula punishes profligacy, Madison will have to pony up a total of $27 million over the next three years.
In a sitdown with school board member Ed Hughes, I suggested that if the school board is willing to ask the taxpayers to feel the pain, they ought to ask the same of the teachers union. Instead there is the perception that the teachers union gets what it wants, the taxpayers foot the bill, and students get whatever is left over. [Blaska's Blog: It's for the kids, dammit!]
Instead, the unionized teachers -- as antagonistic and self-centered as ever -- took a nearly 4 percent increase in compensation. This in the face of reductions in compensation for state, city and county employees. Wisely, the teachers locked in their booty in a two-year contract. Once again, the taxpayers got rolled.
The trouble with unionized labor
There is a reason that organized labor represents only 7 percent of the working people in America (outside of government). Card check coercion is not going to improve that. But the unions control government employees and the government employee unions want -- Spoiler Alert! -- more government!
The iconoclastic social observer Mickey Kaus -- and Democrat(ic) candidate for the U.S. Senate from California -- asks:
Do you have to love labor unions to be a good Democrat? That was the question raised last year by the unpopular bailouts of unionized Detroit automakers. It's been raised again this year by California's budget crisis, created at least in part by generous pensions for unionized public employees. I think the answer is no. It's time for Democrats, even liberal Democrats, to start looking at unions and unionism with deep skepticism. [Los Angeles Times: America's Lead Weight]
Did you notice? GM was not bailed out. GM stockholders and even bond holders lost their shirts. It was the UAW that got the bailout, as Kaus notes.
If there are limits on what private unions can demand - when they win too much, as we've seen, their employers tend to disappear - there is no such limit on what government unions can demand. They just have to get the politicians to raise your taxes to pay for it. ... No wonder that in our biggest school systems, it's become virtually impossible to fight the teachers unions and fire bad teachers.