Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Illegal Immigration Enforcement = Prohibition Enforcement

According to this article, the recent, headline-grabbing immigration raids are responsible for an increase in fake documents.
"Illegal immigrants fearful of being caught in stepped-up workplace raids are fueling a growing market in Houston for phony immigration and work documents.
The result, experts say, is a glut of false, altered and counterfeit documents that are easily obtained at Houston-area flea markets, businesses and clandestine printing shops set up in homes and apartments. The bogus documents include counterfeit Texas driver's licenses, fake Social Security and "green cards," and even worthless international driver's licenses sold here and in other states."

I have news for Mr. Pinkerton (the reporter), the heavy demand has always been there. Go to Trader's Village, or down any freeway and you'll find an "ID store." These ID stores usually sell fake IDs and put the disclaimer "not a government document/driver's license, etc" trying to shield themselves from liability. Another problem is the lack of prosecution, especially by the Harris County District Attorney's office. Many assistant DA's won't take the charge for a variety of reasons (the best reason I've heard is that an assistant DA refused to take a charge on a guy for presenting a fake ID card because she wanted a state trooper to say it was fake. She didn't think a deputy was trained enough to spot a fake ID card with 10 numbers instead of 8).
I think this reporter is trying to compare the illegal immigration raids to 1920s prohibition. It sounds like Mr. Pinkerton is trying to convey the impression that enforcing the immigration laws is causing a spike in fake ID sales and purchases and in identity theft crimes. It also appears he is making the correlation that more officials are corrupt and cites some examples of corruption. Like I said earlier, the corruption has always been there, and always will be there on a small scale. The way I see this, it is another veiled plea to stop immigration raids using the prohibition argument "it's too much trouble, it forces people to commit more crime, etc." So, using this logic, would the demand for fake IDs go down if the illegal immigration raids were halted? How about identity theft crimes?

1 comment:

JLee said...

This kind of stuff makes me mad. Journalists are supposed to be unbiased, but clearly a lot of them feel the immigration crackdown is wrong. The law is the law.