The WaPo Gets It Wrong


I had to double check that the dateline on this story was correct, as the description bears little resemblance to the city I live in:

CHARLOTTE—Police here operated for years under what amounts to a "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward illegal immigrants.

As elsewhere in the United States, law enforcement officers did not check the immigration status of people they came into contact with, and in the vast majority of cases, a run-in with the law carried little threat of deportation.

But that accommodation for the burgeoning illegal population ended abruptly in April, when the Mecklenburg County sheriff's office began to enforce immigration law, placing more than 100 people a month into deportation proceedings. Some of them had been charged with violent crimes, others with traffic infractions.

OK. Police here—the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, that is—still operate under a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regard to immigration status. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department, a wholly separate and much smaller entity primarily responsible for running the county jail, securing the courthouse, serving papers, but little in the way of day-to-day patrolling, is different.

The sheriff's department was, in effect, deputized by ICE to perform immigration status checks on anyone booked into the county jail. Part of the motivation for doing that was financial. The jail was basically holding federal prisoners for free by not checking their immigration status. Once you get prisoners into the deportation cue, the feds help pick up the tab.

The upshot is that far from having cops out cruising the streets of Charlotte looking for illegals to deport, as the story strongly implies, local officials have stepped up to perform the background checks on jail inmates that ICE, for whatever reason, did not do.

The story also disproves its own implication that a mere traffic violation will get you deported in Mecklenburg. The man cited for an open container and without a driver's license was not immediately deported. Should he skip out on his immigration hearing in Atlanta and avoid further run-ins with the law, he will never be deported.

Emotions and, frankly, some goofy ideas are all over the immigration debate on both sides. Facts too often take a backseat to assumptions and agendas. The Post had a chance to do a story on a policy shift that may or may not be a good idea; a policy that may go too far for some and may not go near far enough for others.

Instead the Post opted to editorialize against a move by Herndon, Virginia to implement Mecklenburg-like changes under cover of a Post news story. That is a poor, but unsurprising choice.

NEXT: The 27 Percent Solution

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  1. I’ve seen none of this in Richmond. Is Charlotte some kind of magnet for it?

  2. Charlotte’s long-boom of construction has needed waves of Mexican and Central American labor. The boom is so long and so sustained, in fact, that in recent years the workers have begun to bring their families in-country too.

    That is precisely what has raised the visibility of the population and caused friction in the community.

  3. I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with this post. The WaPo is a strong supporter of illegal immigration, and it’s not surprising that they’d let the same confusion that outright advocates use to confuse the issue seep into their “reporting”.

    On a somewhat related note, here’s an extremely important story that doesn’t seem to have caught on either in the MSM or in blogs:

    WND and others have obtained 1000 pages of documents detailing a “ShadowGovernment” that’s trying to join the U.S. with Canada and Mexico. Anyone who supports the U.S. Constitution should oppose any such efforts; let’s see where Reason comes down on the issue.

  4. On a somewhat related note, here’s an extremely important story that doesn’t seem to have caught on either in the MSM or in blogs:

    Actually, it’s no big secret. Ron Paul wrote an article about it posted at

    The released documents affirm that counterparts from official governmental agencies in Mexico and Canada are combined with the U.S. administrative branch to form new trilateral “working groups” that actively rewrite U.S. administrative law to “harmonize” or “integrate” with administrative law in Mexico and Canada.

    I’m not really sure I find this all that objectionable. At least the people who favor more open immigration have finally advanced a policy proposal a little more serious than “Open the borders – Wheeeeee!!!!”.

    Don’t really know enough of the details yet to say if I’m for it or agin it.

  5. WND and others have obtained 1000 pages of documents detailing a “ShadowGovernment” that’s trying to join the U.S. with Canada and Mexico. Anyone who supports the U.S. Constitution should oppose any such efforts; let’s see where Reason comes down on the issue.

    Gee, I support the US Constitution, so without bothering to find some balanced reporting on what’s going on here, I’ll say I’m horrified. Absolutely horrified! I’m getting up right now to go to the phone and I’m calling my local minuteman chapter to enlist.

  6. Actually, it’s no big secret.

    There appears to be an effort to downplay this issue; see the “MythsAndFacts” page at spp_dot_gov. Corsi has subsequently responded to that page quite convincingly. See also statements from others regarding the “NAFTASuperhighway”.

    And, I haven’t been able to find any MSM source doing anything beyond simply reporting on a couple of the meetings. In fact, the HoustonChronicle was involved in a related exercise.

    Normally, you’d expect newspapers to be pushing this story, filing their own FOIA requests, and so on. Yet, none of that appears to be happening despite the hugely important nature of the story.

    And, where’s the supposed “alternative” to the MSM, such as Insty?

  7. As they nonchalantly wipe their butts with our Constitution I`ll call the ACLU to see what can be done about this harmonization with Mexico and Canada. I`m sure they will help!

  8. Say what you will about the US Constitution… it’s a hell of a lot better than the form the US government has now.

  9. As for that Ron Paul article, this is my favorite bit…

    Even more troubling are reports that under this new “partnership,” a massive highway is being planned to stretch from Canada into Mexico, through the state of Texas. This is likely to cost the US taxpayer untold billions of dollars, will require eminent domain takings on an almost unimaginable scale, and will make the US more vulnerable to those who seek to enter our country to do us harm.

    Read it with a Buford T. Justice accent.

  10. Read it with a Kinky Friedman accent with a large stoogie in the side of your mouth.
    PS—–vote for Kinky

  11. I’ve been browsing the SPP website Ron Paul talks about, and I discovered the disconcerting revelation that they have a “Myths vs Facts” page — a sure sign that they are up to no good.

    Here’s one example…

    Myth: The SPP is illegal and violates the Constitution.

    Fact: The SPP is legal and in no way violates the Constitution or affects the legal authorities of the participating executive agencies. Indeed, the SPP is an opportunity for the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to discuss common goals and identify ways to enhance each nation’s security and prosperity. If an action is identified, U.S. federal agencies can only operate within U.S. law to address these issues. The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security coordinate the efforts of the agencies responsible for the various initiatives under the prosperity and security pillars of the SPP. If an agency were to decide a regulatory change is desirable through the cooperative efforts of SPP, that agency is required to conform to all existing U.S. laws and administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment. If the change is still not forthcoming, the black helicopters are sent out to make the change happen.

    I must admit to a little embellishment with the last sentence. But you could just see it there hiding between the lines…

  12. Is there any less informative title than “WaPo gets it wrong”? That narrows it down to, what, only half of everything they publish?

    MikeP: good one.

    On the intergovernment working group thing, I am missing the point, this kind of thing happens all the time with respect to stuff like labeling regulations and so on. Much of it is very useful and helps to promote free trade by avoiding deliberate or accidental differences in regulations that would make it difficult to produce products that could be sold in all three countries without modification. Why is harmonizing minor details of immigration rules (not “administrative law” any different)?


  13. All “administrative law” is unconstitutional. Let’s all read Article I, Section 1 together:

    All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    This is a crystal-clear part of the Constitution, and Congress can no more pass a bill granting anyone else legislative powers than pass a bill reinstating slavery. Both are in contravention of the plain language of the Constitution (with amendments).

    End rant.

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