Okay, here's the deal: No one ever could, should or would defend the actions of reckless criminals who drive drunk and injure and kill innocent people (or even non-innocent people, for that matter). As far as I can tell, about 99.999% of the population thinks that those who commit such horrible acts deserve to be punished severely by our criminal justice system. Moreover, Americans have made a fair amount of progress in this area in recent decades and politicians of both major parties (and probably some minor ones too) deserve credit for many of their efforts.
Unfortunately, despite the progress in curbing drunk driving, some elected leaders have not yet risen above the practice of grandstanding or of making political hay out of the tragedy of others in this important area. Case in point: Congresswoman Sue "Minutewoman" Myrick. This week, Myrick took the "bold" political step (complete with a press conference featuring some the poor folks who've been victimized by these tragedies) of proposing the deportation of undocumented immigrants convicted of drunk driving.
The only problem with her proposal is that undocumented aliens are already subject to deportation when convicted of a crime (or even when they're simply arrested in many cases). The problem isn't lack of authority (they're undocumented for Pete's sake!). The problem is that the feds simply don't have sufficient resources to deal with the volume of such cases. Moreover, such a proposal does nothing to address the problems caused by those who are deported (and then re-enter) multiple times, those who are never caught, and/or those who simply don't understand our laws and rules of the road. In the case of a guy like Luciano Tellez, the guy who allegedly killed two people in Smithfield recently, wouldn't it be better to incarcerate him rather than simply deport him? I'm sure the drivers in his homeland would appreciate it too.
Moreover, as a general matter, wouldn't it make more sense to focus our scarce resources upon an aggressive system of outreach and education that attempts to bring all immigrants (documented or undocumented) into the system so that they will learn our rules, drive more safely and come to appreciate the dangers of drunk driving (as seems to be happening with much of the rest of the population)? Oh, I forgot, that would mean we'd have to stop pretending that we're going to deport millions of hardworking people who have become essential to our economy and end the inflammatory, anti-immigrant rhetoric. Never mind.
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