Friday, May 23, 2008

Protection of society's most vulnerable is not our concern

From The Jewish Daily Forward:
What’s most shameful about the Postville immigration raid is not the behavior of the immigrants or the company that hired them, but the priorities and values of the government that mounted the operation. After years of neglecting its legal duties to protect workers and consumers, it finally found the resources for a massive show of commitment to our unenforceable immigration rules, staged at the expense of hundreds of hard-working families and a struggling community. It chose the orderly over the humane. It declared to the world that protection of society’s most vulnerable is simply not its concern.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The punishment is out of proportion with the offense

The first letter to the editor here illustrates two points related to immigration: our laws should impose a punishment proportionate to the offense, and not every infraction of the law is or should be criminal:
As a conscientious driver with an impeccable driving record, I wanted to offer my experience regarding moving over for stopped emergency vehicles ("Move over, or get a ticket," April 22 letter).

Last July, I received such a ticket, my first in 16 years of driving, while driving on Interstate 581. Upon returning home, I was horrified to learn that this was not a simple traffic offense. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor -- the same as reckless driving or DUI/DWI, and punishable by confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both (as well as license suspension).

This simple offense had potentially jeopardized my career as a professional pilot because it is a criminal offense. I have spent hundreds of dollars and multiple days appealing this ticket (which, to this date, hasn't been officially closed).

While I believe such a law is important for the safety of our law enforcement and rescue public servants, I feel the punishment significantly out of proportion and needs to be revised. Virginia also needs to publicize the law (and the penalties) so that they are more widely known. Drivers beware.