My column Tuesday is about people helping out the victims of Sunday’s 30-unit apartment fire in Ogden. One of the major sources of help is the Red Cross which, of course, is having trouble encouraging people to come forward because they don’t have documents proving their citizenship, assuming they are citizen.
Which doesn’t matter to the Red Cross. It helps people, simple as that. Isn’t that nice?
The reason it is nice is not everyone has that attitude, as is made clear in this story (click here) in the San Francisco Chronicle about how the ICE people in Homeland Security are hauling off US citizens and detaining them, and deporting them, because it thinks they might, maybe, not be citizens. How many US Citizens will get swept up the next time ICE decides to raid a factory in Top of Utah? I guess we’ll find out.
What’s scary is that, because these are civil proceedings, not criminal, none of the usual protections apply. People can simply disappear, no phone call, no lawyer, no nothing.
Yes, I know, some think these legal protections are weeny ways for the guilty to get off on a technicality (like Ollie North did) but generally speaking, they’re designed to make an overreaching government prove it has the right guy in the clink.
It is called, I believe, limiting the power of government, one of the solid rock tenates of the GOP platform, as I recall.
In this case, with no legal protections, ICE is tossing US citizens into jail, and even deporting them, simply because they were unable to prove they are citizens. Wrong accent? Wrong last name? Wrong place at wrong time? Adios pancho, good luck, and no you can’t call someone to bring your passport down.
It is all very frightening, because it is all happening right here in our American, land of the free and home of the brave as long as you have your birth certificate tattooed onto your forehead, I guess.
And, no, if you stopped me on the street I couldn’t prove my citizenship. Look through your wallet. Could you? Five bucks says not.