SAFE COMMUNITIES – VOTE YES!
A BRIEF LOOK AT “SAFE COMMUNITIES”
Background: 2003-2004, many Cape towns (including ours) adopted a resolution in response to the invasive provisions of the Patriot Act. Resolved was to protect and preserve fundamental rights: privacy, right to counsel and due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Tonight’s article merely re-affirms the ’03-’04 resolution and maintains the civil liberties and safety of ALL residents at this critical time.
What It Says:
1) Local resources will remain devoted to local purposes – It is unconstitutional for the federal government to assign tasks to local law enforcement, such as enforcing federal immigration laws. Local officers already have plenty to do. If they were expected to execute federal duties, it would require added taxpayer expense. The execution of federal duties is solely the responsibility of federal agencies per the US Constitution, amendment 10.
2) Personal privacy will be protected – Except in cases where there is a valid warrant, personal information of residents, visitors and workers will remain off limits to access by federal agencies.
What It Will Do:
1) Public safety will be strengthened – Why? Without fear of detention or deportation, the un-documented are more likely to come forward to report crimes, serve as witnesses, or volunteer for public service.
2) Families will not be broken apart at taxpayer expense – Children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents are legal citizens. If parents are detained or deported, their children are traumatized and likely to be assigned to the Department of Children and Families.
3) Local officials will be shielded from lawsuits related to unlawful search and seizure. Being in the U.S. without documentation is not a “crime;” however, unreasonable search and seizure is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Undocumented is not synonymous with “criminal.”
4) Residents, visitors and workers of our town will know we are a town which values civil liberties.
What It Does Not Say:
1) It does NOT CHANGE current practice.
2) It does NOT GRANT ASYLUM to criminals, who are arrested and where applicable reported to federal authorities.
3) It does NOT PROHIBIT, PREVENT OR RESTRAIN federal agencies, i.e. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), from doing their job.
4) It does NOT EXPOSE THE TOWN TO FEDERAL FUNDING RETALIATION – Courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional for federal funds to be withheld in the absence of any violation to specific terms of that funding. Since our town received no federal funding preconditioned on local enforcement of immigration laws, it cannot be lawfully withheld.
5) It does NOT COMPROMISE PUBLIC SAFETY – Rather, by promoting an atmosphere of greater trust and cooperation with local law enforcement, it results in a safer community for ALL residents.
PLEASE VOTE YES FOR SAFE COMMUNITIES