John Armor: Come On In, The Benefits Are Free: New Haven's Response to Illegal Immigration


ACRU Staff


June 11, 2007

The Board of Aldermen of New Haven, Connecticut, have by an astonishing vote of 25-1 approved special City-issued IDs for illegal aliens. The program is also strongly supported by Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., who said, “It’s a practical response to a real problem of a large segment of the population who felt isolated from civil authority, were fearful of civil authority and that was contributing to a lack of civility and order in our community.”

New Haven is apparently the only local community which has taken such a step. The Mayor estimated that 10% of the City’s 120,000 population are “undocumented.” The reason why most local governments are going in the exact opposite direction can be seen in the daily press, across the country.

How will the New Haven IDs work? They “would allow access to city libraries and parks, while a debit component would facilitate purchases at some 50 stores and payment at parking meters.” The claim is that the cards require the same information as banks do to open accounts. Maybe things have changed since I got my first job, had my first child, and bought my first house. But way back then, banks wanted to know that you had a legal right to stick around before they would lend you money, especially for 30 years.

Hospitals and schools are being over-crowded and bankrupted by the demands of the illegal community. Crimes, and not just drug crimes, are increasing because of the illegal community. And when the deaths from murders and drunk drivers are combined, illegals are killing more Americans every year than enemies and terrorists in all parts of the world from Iraq to the Philippines.

Why did New Haven go in the exact opposite direction from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and Farmers Branch, Texas? Because those cities paid more attention to the interests of their citizens than the Aldermen in New Haven did. But it’s not entirely their fault. They were advised by the worthies at Yale Law School.

The genesis of the program, as “Michael Wishnie, a lawyer with the legal clinics at the Yale Law School, said, was public safety and the request from immigrants to have identification they could show police.” Think about that. Lawyers advising people who commit crimes how to avoid the consequences of their illegality. Let’s hope this concept doesn’t spread to other law schools.

Wishnie claims this is “sound local governance.” He claims that police around the country see this as “moving forward.” He cites Los Angeles and Chicago as good examples of police deliberately ignoring the illegal status of people they encounter.

How long will this new policy of New Haven last? Just until an illegal slaughters a few local citizens over a drug deal gone bad. Or until a drunk illegal in a car slams into a local couple at night and kills one of them and both of their children. The people will find out if the person causing the deaths had multiple encounters with the police, or worse, had been deported before, and yet was back again. Then, the Mayor and 25 of his Aldermen will feel the backlash, and this policy will die. Yale Law School, however, will feel no such backlash, and learn nothing from the experience.

New Haven could learn their lesson earlier than that. Some members of the state legislature have proposed cutting off all state aid to the city until the policy is changed. Since half of the city’s budget comes from the state, this would be immediately effective. As when Congress has threatened to cut off highway funds to state governments, first there are complaints, then a loud sucking sound, then the state or local government backs down. The US Supreme Court, by the way, has approved the use of federal or state fund withholding to force changes in state or local government behavior.

I am grateful for a very thorough, factual article in the New Haven Register on 10 June, which provides much more information about the New Haven ID program than the rest of the mainstream media, put together.



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