I’m glad I’m not in Oakland

This is just too much. Normally I’m pretty ambivalent about illegal immigrants. I have a principaled belief that they shouldn’t be in the country, but this is tempered with pragmatism that if we were to boot them all out our lower-end –and necessary!– labor force would be gutted. Effectively, this puts me in an inert political state: I don’t do, say, or care much about it. However, in the above article, my inertia is overcome by the sheer outrageousness and stupidity of what is going on.

Let’s start with the issue:

Oakland police officers have stopped setting up roadblocks to check whether drivers are under the influence because of a rash of complaints from the Latino community and City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente.

The checkpoints, which allow officers to demand licenses and proof of insurance, are an effective way to get drunken drivers off Oakland’s streets, city leaders agree. But the checks also have ensnared dozens of illegal immigrants who are not licensed to drive yet otherwise obey the law.

The police are engaging in activity that is entirely laudable. They are seeking to prevent drunk drivers from killing other people. As far I can tell from the article they aren’t profiling, they aren’t discriminating, they aren’t purposefully looking to crack down on illegal immigrant drivers. Of course, some would argue that all of that is probably going on, but, for once, just this once, can we give police the benefit of the doubt and assume that there isn’t a substantial amount of suspicious motives?

Now, this guy, De La Fuente, succeeds in getting the police to stop this life-saving activity because it catches too many people who not only illegally entered the country but also are illegally driving by having no license and insurance? It’s as if he’s saying, “Look you gotta stop doing these checkpoints because you’re catching too many lawbreakers!”

And how much contempt does this show to the legal citizens and legal drivers who want as few drunk drivers on the road as possible? This guy thinks that aliens deserve the right to drive without license and without insurance even though every other law-abiding citizens must have those! So, the moral here apparently is if you broke the law coming into the country, you can go ahead and keep breaking the laws.

For legal residents of Oakland, these checkpoints do three wonderful things: reduce the number of drink drivers, reduce the number of unlicensed drivers, and reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road. This translates to fewer driving fatalities, fewer driving accidents, and fewer accidents where one of the drivers is uninsured. It is only the people who aren’t even suppose to be here who suffer significant negative consequences. And what are those negative consequences? A towed car and paying something a little over $125 to get it back. A quick and dirty cost-benefit analysis says that this is Grade A Stupid.

UPDATE: An IRC buddy just pointed out that the DUI checkpoints have already been re-started with some changes. The last graph is very interesting:

Word credited the checkpoints, funded with state grant money, for helping to reduce the number of fatal accidents in Oakland, down 22 percent this year from 2003. Five of the last six fatal accidents involved unlicensed drivers, he added.

I’m sure those last 6 accidents may not be representative of all the accidents, but it is interesting nonetheless.

6 thoughts on “I’m glad I’m not in Oakland”

  1. I totally agree with Steve-O’s assessment. Obviously, provided the reasons for the checkpoints are indeed the reasons given, it is not a case of profiling. Not only that, are we supposed to feel bad for illegal immigrants who’ve broken no law except that they are ILLEGALLY in our country? Of course not. They are illegally in our country. If they get caught, they should be deported. They understand this risk, they understood it when they illegally crossed the border into our country. To them I say “better luck next time (by the way, stay the fudge out of my country).”

    Bottom line is, besides making the commute for innocent motorists longer and more inconvenient, the only people who have any cause to complain about this are people who are committing some sort of crime and don’t want to get caught.

  2. Dear ignorant white man,

    Most Mexicans are NATIVE AMERICAN. The main staples of Mexican food are CORN, BEANS, AND SQUASH–these are all indegenous to this continent–unlike our hamburgers and pizza which come from Europe.

    For 10,000 years before the candy ass easterners (49ers and there predessors) under the myth of manifest destiny and the white man’s lust for material objects (gold dumb shit) illegally crossed what was then the Mexican border into CA, there was no such thing as any border. Mexicans, like many Native Americans of the Southwest (and all world peoples, even our indigenous European ancestors thousands of years ago) have been migrating from over huge territories for thousands of years. The US border is a mentally and politically constructed myth. Like the apartheid wall in Israel, the US Mexican border will never stop the indegenous peoples of this continent (i.e. Mexicans not you white man ILLEGAL “immigrant”) from crossing back and forth in search of resources necessary for survival.

    You need to start accepting this realty because the days of our domination (white men) are over–this country was founded on slavery and murder–don’t forget that fellow white man.

  3. Dear hippie: unfortunately, the line that these illegal immigrants crossed was the US/Mexican border, an act which both countries consider illegal, and the people who crossed them came from Mexico, not the US. It would be convienient enough for them to tell INS at the border “lines are, like, arbitrary, man,” but unfortunately for them, in the society that we live in and in this day and age, these lines are not only real, they are socially neccessary.

    However, I find your thoughts intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Pfff, chump.

  4. btw-I find it funny that, in the same sentence, you suggest both that we illegally crossed the Mexican border into the modern-day state of CA, and then suggest that there was no such thing as borders at that time. Which is it? Did we cross a border, or were there even borders to be crossed?

    From someone named “O’Malley” (an Irish name suggesting that, yes, you too are a self-proclaimed “illegal alien”), I find this self-damning material to be quite hilareous. Do you honestly think that I have any influence over what fellow caucasians did voer a century before I was born? And do you honestly think that the world would be a better, safer place if we allowed people to freely cross borders and shun their given citizenship? Do you know what the US would turn into if we allowed every Mexican in search of a job to waltz into the US and work, refusing to adhere to our laws and refusing to pay our taxes? We would be no better off than the poorest parts of Mexico.

    Geez man, I’m no genius, and even I’ve got this figured out.

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