Three cheers for the new Underground Railroad

We keep hearing rumors about this even though it’s very hard to track down specifics. Word on the street is that various groups, including churches, are preparing to assist illegal immigrants by either providing them with shelter or facilitating their plans to flee to Canada. Without more documentation it’s hard to be entirely sure, but with this much smoke it’s certainly possible that there is at least a bit of fire underneath. Another report has emerged on this, although it’s from Buzzfeed, so take it with whatever size grain of salt you feel appropriate.

Churches across the US are fighting back against the Trump administration’s mandate to ramp up deportations with new sanctuary practices of their own, using private homes in their congregations as shelter and potentially creating a modern-day underground railroad to ferry undocumented immigrants from house to house or into Canada.

Church leaders from California to Illinois and New York told BuzzFeed News they’re willing to take their sanctuary operations for undocumented immigrants underground should federal immigration authorities, emboldened by Trump’s recent directives to take a harder line on deportations, ignore precedent and raid their campuses.

If we take these claims at face value for the moment there are two separate issues to be considered. One is the headline grabbing idea of an underground railroad being in the works. Now, technically this is illegal (more on that in a moment) but the recently popular idea of prosecutorial discretion would seem to allow law enforcement to turn something of a blind eye to various activities when resources are scarce or enforcement doesn’t serve the greater interest. Might this be such an area? I mean, if these are people who are actively helping illegal aliens to leave the country, are we really going to be all that enthusiastic about stopping them?

But as I said, that’s only half of the story being reported. It is specifically noted above that some of these churches are partnering with private citizens to provide “safe houses” to shield such illegal aliens from law enforcement. That’s not just a bad idea, but actually a felony which carries serious penalties. Let’s take a look at the appropriate statute:

8 U.S. Code § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens

(a) Criminal penalties (1) (A) Any person who—

(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation; … shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).

(B) A person who violates subparagraph (A) shall, for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs— (ii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v)(II), be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both;

Immigration and Border Patrol forces are being beefed up in the coming months and years. The people considering taking such a course of action should be made aware that not only might their “guests” wind up being deported anyway, but they themselves might be heading off for an extended vacation at the Crowbar Motel.

The one other question I would address today is where these people have been for the past eight years. Yes, it’s true that President Trump is talking a very serious game in terms of deportations, but thus far it’s still all in the planning stages. Isn’t there something just a tad bit hypocritical about rushing to the barricades right now when you had so many opportunities to do it in the recent past? Did none of these heroes notice the deportation record under President Barack Obama? (ABC News)

According to governmental data, the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history.

In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.

Barack Obama doesn’t just hold the record for deportations, but actually deported more illegal aliens than all the presidents of the 20th century combined. The man may not have accomplished too much I approved of during his eight years in office but at least he had that going for him. Where was all this anger then? Why were there no long lines forming to break federal law and help out the millions who were facing deportation when there was a Democrat in office?

So many questions. So few answers. But hey, guys… it’s all in the game.

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