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Wake-up call

ICE melt


Is it collaboration or collusion? Such bad blood between near synonyms. Words that mean almost the same things, according to a dictionary, may seem to have mutated when encountered in a thesaurus.  

When the spirit of a word is at odds with what it denotes, which is lying?  

"We want to collaborate with both the mayor's office and the governor's office,” Kenneth Genalo, the New York City regional field director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Spectrum News. But, because the law limits what state and local law enforcement officials can share with ICE, the identification and apprehension of violent felons and their criminal affiliations may be jeopardized with public safety at stake.

Sooner or later, the consequences will be catastrophic on a grand scale. 

In New York, there are many suspected violent felons, very few of them migrants, who are released without bail and escape to parts unknown to blend in with the general population. In such cases, when migrants are involved, they are and should be, upon conviction, be legally subject to deportation.  

Treating ICE as a pariah and forgoing the use of their massive database and resources, is mind-bogglingly reckless. And a cynical abrogation of duty.

Mayor Eric Adams says the city's hands are tied. Governor Kathy Hochul, in a notoriously non-punctual reaction to the release of migrants who had been collared after their videotaped assault of NYPD officers, called for their deportation.  

There's been a groundswell of advocacy for deportation among people who view deportation as an underutilized remedy. “The devil is in the details" and sometimes the kangaroo courts.  Judgment should be expeditious but not summary. Drug cartel operatives, human traffickers, terrorists and spies should be permanently inadmissible upon conviction.

The New York Post reported on a press conference held by U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and some local legislators, at which they urged Adams and the City Council "to reverse the current laws and policies, so migrants accused of crimes can be easily deported.”

We cannot protect the common liberty by taking liberties.

In the interests of justice, we must be sticklers about the use of "accused.” That choice of language may be a tip-off. It is a can of worms. A Pandora's box. A time bomb. No accident. An indictment of our professed judicial tenet of "innocent until proven guilty.”   

"Due process" must be universally applied, even when the arbitrary  rule of law allows it to be sidestepped. If the Constitution is a living, breathing document, as its worshipers espouse, then we should recognize, interpret and if need be create technicalities to accommodate changing realities and attitudes.  

But being a proponent of deportation upon certain rigidly spelled-out circumstances does not prove a person is xenophobic, a racial supremacist or crypto-fascist. Benign nationhood is not the same as malignant nationalism. ICE is not a secret state police and its officers are not storm troopers.  

A subset of their detractors come from demagogic communities. Counter-culture has its own "deep state.” 

ICE's duties are not inherently barbaric. Its officers are not collectively bigots and thugs, as former Governor and failed wordsmith Andrew Cuomo called them. Their business is not gratuitously rounding up souls.  

When they abuse their authority, they must be held accountable. Disciplinary records should be accessible to the public, with redactions that balance privacy and need-to-know rights.

Had politically motivated New York elected officials not bound, gagged, blindfolded and hamstrung the NYPD, vowing the severest disciplinary proceedings would befall any of them if they gave their superior federal counterparts so much as the time of day, nursing student Laken Riley would not have been murdered allegedly by Jose Ibarra last week.  He had been arrested by the NYPD on suspicion of having committed a felony, but was released without prior consultation with ICE, which would have detained him, if only they had known, and deported him if convicted.

An outlier among migrant chronicles. But no tragedy is an anomaly to its victims or their survivors.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams wisely notes that when undocumented migrants are driven underground and cower with dread of detection on the radar screen of governmental scrutiny, they may be "deterred from seeking help or reporting crimes out of fear of deportation from their engagement with city agencies.”

The city and state must immediately roll back its ridiculous and childish animus against the lead federal agency responsible for vetting unauthorized border crossers. They must act jointly within a framework of operations that doesn't sacrifice human rights. It's common sense, which seems to have gone the way of the quagga.

Conflicting arguments can be reconciled and harmonized, but it requires the rarest commodity: good faith.

Law enforcement and education are two areas that appear in recent years to most lend themselves to the follies of reinvention. In New York City, school safety agents will now be wearing bulletproof vests. This will enhance their public profile and self-image as peace officers. 

When these employees were moved many years ago from the Department of Education to the NYPD and their job titles made to sound more formidable, school climates improved. The perception was that the authorities were getting serious at last. Metal detectors were installed. In 2022, more than 5,500 potential weapons were seized, mostly knives, but also guns.

Unarmed school safety agents are more engaged in day-to-day enforcement actions than are many street cops. Bullet-resistant vests are protective gear and not decorative insignia, but is their issuance more than a cosmetic accessory?  

Many of the same bureaucrats who are approving them have simultaneously endorsed the elimination of metal detectors in schools. Is that because of the optics and a misguided trust in the innate healing process of just letting things happen and then stitching together an off the record mediation between equivalent victims and perpetrators?

Because bulletproof gear is worn beneath uniform shirts and doesn't stand out as metal detectors do (which are symbols that suggest social unrest and can spook visitors into thinking the school is fair game for survivalists), they are not school reputation-busters and thus are copacetic from a public relations standpoint, which is what counts to management.

It seems that even when the right thing is done, it is done for an unstated and often wrong reason.

Should we accept at face value and not question the nature of hidden negative motives that may drive policies that superficially may come off as enlightened, yet profoundly flout the law by making constituencies happy while keeping them off the back of corrupted policy makers? This enigma dovetails with the fatuous bromide about the literal inviolability of law, executed without fear or favor, except among those deputized to enforce it. 

Consider the NYC parking restrictions.  

At local public schools, NYPD traffic agents materialize daily to issue tickets within one minute after the restrictions go into effect. They hover like drones until the fateful moment when they can strike. But at parochial schools, such as at a nearby high school, parents double park for long periods, blocking lanes intersecting two major roads, and in 30 years, no tickets have been given.  

An influential cleric must have phoned a precinct captain.

Another example of law enforcement being de-fanged is the infinite-tolerance policy merchants selling counterfeit merchandise from "Gucci" bags to "Balenciaga "shoes" to live turtles for many blocks in several neighborhoods. One of them is within spitting distance, earshot and a handshake of the police precinct. I'd wager that not a single summons has been written in a decade.

So let's stop this drivel about the gravitas of the law and the equal distribution of its weight of authority among those theoretically subject to it.

Before submitting this column, I ran it by a blunt friend of mine. When asked his views on the politics of deportation, he replied, "Frankly, I'd rather take my chances with not-vetted migrants, than with the documented anti-men divorce laws of New York State.” 

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