briley on immigration

I finally got around to reading Briley’s immigration platform.

Quick analysis: politically, it’s a good platform for his campaign. Immigration is a hot topic, so he has to say something about it. It comes across as pro-active, if a bit toothless. It’s a far cry better than anything else I’ve seen so far.

Others have already pointed it out, but I think the inclusion of the bit about drunk driving was unnecessary. Granted, it only says that “as a city we will not respond in a racist way”, and then details a plan for curbing drunk driving in general. It’s clear it was included to address the public concern that “the illegals” are somehow a driving force (no pun intended) for drunk driving fatalities, and that this is somehow an immigration problem. But, if you ask me, the best way to address utter nonsense is by ignoring it. But anyways.

I was disappointed to see him endorse the 287(g) legislation. My introduction via Claudia Nunez’s case and the subsequent horror stories I’ve heard about the abuse of 287(g) have been enough for me to maintain rigid opposition to this legislation. Briley’s contention is that since the federal government is unable to do anything, 287(g) is basically the only way we can fight the “problem”. What’s lacking in his platform here is an analysis of what exactly the problem is that he thinks 287(g) will solve. It also ignores the fact that the past years have demonstrated the potential of 287(g) to flood the courts with contentious or worthless cases, rampant racist abuse, and general failure.

In his introduction, Briley states that when he’s mayor, “we will go the way of community and
diverse leadership, not the divisive way of Washington.”
If that’s true, his endorsement of 287(g) constitutes a dangerous failure in that respect.

Aside from this, his immigration platform is okay, if a little toothless. Briley’s main contention is that since the feds are tied up in partison gridlock, we have to act to solve the problem. I disagree.. Immigration is a problem that needs to be fixed on two levels: 1) federal, and 2) cultural. Our borders and minds both need to be opened up before any meaningful change will come. Local attempts to fix the problem basically amount to handing over the reigns to increasing federal government control (i.e. 287g) to prosecute and persecute, which is not something that will foster community – it’s divisive by its very nature. An ideal mayoral platform on immigration should be committed to:

  • Embracing and assimilating new members of our community
  • Prosecuting abuse of immigration status
  • Prosecuting racist/xenophobic practices

Anything else is a waste of time and money. Our illegal immigrant situation is a federal problem. Let them fix it. We have bigger fish to fry here in Nashville.