People ask questions to newspaper editors and reporters all the time. Don’t ask me why. Sometimes we have answers. Most often we don’t. Occasionally we horse around. This time, though, I’m not.
My print column this week is a no-winner for me. Be that as it may …
Questions, queries, and queer conundrums regarding the matter of immigration in America, North Carolina and Alamance County.
Oh yeah, and include Arizona. It was still in America the last time I looked.
Yes, over the past few days I’ve fielded any number of e-mails, letters, telephone calls and visits by folks sincerely puzzled, flummoxed or vexed by the biggest issue out there that Congress won’t touch with a 200-foot pole. I don’t think much more needs to be said there. Let’s get to the questions and, hopefully, answers.
Let’s start with one from an Elon reader.
“Regarding murder suspect Raul Contreras, has the Sheriff’s Department investigated and charged Contreras’ dairy employer in Mebane for hiring an illegal immigrant? Is this against the law, or am I wrong? Isn’t this part of the problem, people hiring illegal immigrants? If Contreras had no job, then he would most likely head back to Mexico.”
This question actually gets to the heart of the problem better than most. Yes, it is a violation of federal law for employers to hire those in the country illegally. No, though, the county sheriff’s office has no jurisdiction over it whatsoever and cannot enforce it. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does. Because ICE generally doesn’t make its business known, it’s hard to figure out what they may or may not be doing about this situation. But you’re right. The key to solving the immigration problem is the matter of employers refraining from hiring undocumented workers.
This one was from an anonymous person from who knows where. It came via e-mail.
“The federal Department of Justice is conducting a substantial investigation of the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office. Was a memo sent to employees of the sheriff’s office (deputies, etc.) instructing them that if they are contacted by DOJ, that all communications by them with DOJ must be made in the presence of County Attorney Clyde Albright?”
The county attorney, best we can determine, has instructed those to be interviewed as well as federal authorities that he would like to be included in any questioning regarding this probe of racial profiling. Frankly, I don’t see this as the major stonewalling conspiracy. Albright is hired to protect the county government’s legal interests. This is his job, folks. In all honesty, I’d question his competence if he didn’t ask to be involved.
Let’s call this one a conglomeration of stuff from a variety of people.
Can Fairness Alamance endorse candidates for public office? Should it endorse a candidate for sheriff since the group seems to be constant critics of the current administration?
Anyone anywhere at anytime can endorse anyone for nearly anything when it comes to elected offices. This is how political action groups operate. It is normal for such groups to endorse candidates running against someone who represents a position the organization opposes. In recent times, this can mean endorsing candidates the organization might not even know. There are groups that represent everything from education interests and unions to pro-life or pro-choice and taxation matters. The list is endless.
In some cases candidates are a little queasy about some endorsements. Ron Parrish, the Democratic candidate for sheriff, still wants it known that he supports the 287(g) immigration enforcement program as operated under federal guidelines — even though he has been endorsed by Fairness Alamance. He doesn’t want his views taken out of context.
This one came by e-mail.
Why did Alamance Community College bar Fairness Alamance from addressing an English as Second Language class about the investigation at the sheriff’s office? Isn’t it public property?
Fairness Alamance clearly stepped way over the line by going to a community college class uninvited to talk about a federal investigation. The college is not a park. It is a place for education. Campus officials need to know who is there on any given day and what it means to the curriculum. Political activity in this manner is not appropriate.
And I get this one all the time.
Where do you stand on this issue Mr. Editor?
Sigh: Once more, I think people should be here legally or working to become legal. People who are here legally should not face harassment from the law because they are thought to be illegal based on how they look. The key to solving this problem is limiting the number of job opportunities by cracking down on those who hire undocumented workers.
I’m sure it can’t be that simple or else Congress would’ve handled this already.
Then again …