Fun and frolic with illegals |

Fun and frolic with illegals

Richard Carnes

Local illegal immigration is such a fascinating and entertaining topic these days. So much to complain about. So little to actually understand. To wit: Last week Eagle County’s district attorney, Mark Hurlbert, said in a Vail Daily article, “It’s not against Colorado law to be in the U.S. illegally.”Um, scuze me?I realize we’re a really nice happy state and all, what with Boulder being the newly designated pot capital of the country (second only to Boston, of all the unlikely places, in brownie consumption) and areas like Happy Valley being so good at spending OPM to protect us from ourselves, but are we truly so danged accommodating that we no longer fall under the umbrella of federal law? Have I misread the Constitution?I guess this means here in Eagle County we could now harbor Islamic terrorists (I do believe the act of doing so falls under federal jurisdiction) as long as we kept it on the hush hush and didn’t exploit their “celebrity sightings” in Town Talk (Bin Laden been ski-en!).Hey, wait a minute, maybe this helps explain the budding, but conspicuously quiet on the local front, Vilar fiasco. Sure, he allegedly misused investor funds by offering to make money for them and instead made a name for himself, but none of the charges have been filed in the state of Colorado, so why should we care? We received our self-righteous share already – don’t bite the hand that feeds you and all that.(As a side note, this begs the question of the also conspicuously quiet Eaton Ranch giveaway. Are any of the previously pledged funds from Vilar? Could a simple phone call answer the question or should I ask it publicly so everyone can see the answer?)But you know, perhaps Hurlbert was taken out of context. After riding the Kobe Train into a one-way extra-dark tunnel with nary a photon at the other end, he was certainly misinterpreted and misunderstood more times than Michael Jackson requesting a private Jesus Juice party in the “secret” back room of a Chucky Cheese. Maybe we’re being too hard on him.But, dang it, like Ginn, Magnus and Merv to planning commissions, the quotes kept coming.”Sometimes,” Hurlbert said, “Hispanics get charged with misdemeanors because they don’t know the law. … For example, they don’t know about having car insurance. … In their home country they might not have to have it.”Yes, and maybe Dumb and Dumber from Down Under were simply not aware that “Pulp Fiction” was indeed, fiction, and not a training video for Bank Robbery 101.Since when is ignorance of the law a valid excuse for breaking the law?I don’t give a rat’s peetootie what laws an immigrant, legal or not, may or may not have to follow back home. But I do care when they don’t follow our laws while they are here, just like the rest of us do, most of the time.But the real meat and potatoes of the article had to do with the apparently inordinate amount of Hispanics (legal or not) being prosecuted in Happy Valley on a per capita basis.It’s a tough issue to publicly discuss without being wiped with a broad brush stoke of racism to one degree or another, yet the DA and a smattering of local lawyers and judges were willing to stick their individual necks out to take a stab at it. Although admirable with intent, their own best guesstimates of the percentage of law-breakers ranged anywhere from the actual percentage of local Hispanics (20-25 percent) to almost double, thus proving to the laymen that nobody really has a clue either way.I believe I’ll leave that particularly dicey discussion to our talented pool of regular letter writers and anonymous racists who habitually use Tipsline and now “Wise-asses from the Web” to spew their always astute insights. However, a final mention is due Hurlbert’s referral to the part of sentencing for immigrants in which prosecutors send them to a program called “How to Live in America,” which teaches about the laws and ways of living in the U.S., such as how to apply for welfare.I strongly suggest they change the title of the seminar to “How to Live in America – Legally” and serve Philly cheese steak sandwiches with freedom fries and watermelon and wash it all down with some Vail Mountain Coffee or perhaps even a cold Coors for lunch in between English lessons.It couldn’t hurt.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.netVail, Colorado

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