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Too much weight on the hypothetical

By Frank Salvato
web posted May 22, 2006

It is apparent that the American public isn't as divided as the politically partisan game-players in Washington DC would like us to believe. On the subjects of border security, immigration reform, combating terrorists and governmental ethics reform, among a plethora of other issues, Americans stand overwhelmingly united. Where the illusion of division emanates is from those who have a special interest in the issue being addressed. As working Americans sit on the sidelines listening to the debate, one thing is becoming more evident with each volley; special interest groups are arguing hypotheticals more than ever before.

Recently, Colorado Governor Bill Owen signed an anti-sanctuary bill into law. This law abolishes the "sanctuary city" policy that many larger US cities embrace. These policies prohibit law enforcement officers from asking people they suspect of being illegal aliens their immigration status. Sanctuary city policies only allow law enforcement officers to ask about a person's immigration status if they are arrested on a felony charge. Currently, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Seattle, along with a long list of other municipalities around the country, have sanctuary city policies.

In arguing against the anti-sanctuary law, Jeff Joseph, a Denver immigration lawyer, said he: 1) was worried that the new law would erode any trust that was established between those in the ethnic communities of the US and law enforcement officers, and 2) predicted an onslaught of civil rights lawsuits filed on behalf of suspected illegal aliens due to racial profiling.

Also voicing his concerns about the anti-sanctuary law was Mexican Consul General Juan Marcos Gutierrez who said, "This is leaving a window open for any employee who has a personal agenda on immigration to make a decision based on racial profiling."

Both of these "concerned" individuals have two things in common.

First, both Joseph and Guiterrez expose the very real "concerns" they have for their livelihoods. Mr. Joseph's comments "red-flag" his concern for the health of his immigration law practice while beads of sweat are forming on Mr. Gutierrez's forehead over the possibility that an increased detention rate of illegal aliens may just see an increase in his workload.

Second, both of these gentlemen are using hypothetical situations, all of them weighing exclusively on an as of yet unrealized set of predominantly negative circumstances, in an effort to argue a non-existent problem.

Special interest reliance on non-existent problems and hypothetical situations isn't exclusive to the issues of immigration reform and border security. In fact, they are the cornerstones of most of the "progressive" left's criticism of our government today.

When the seditionists in the mainstream media first exposed the initial NSA terrorist surveillance efforts the big lie propagated was that the US intelligence community was listening in to the phone calls of American citizens. As the truth came out it was learned that the only phone calls being scrutinized were those originating in foreign locations from known terrorists or their associates to suspected terrorists within the United States.

The "progressive" left special interest talking points about the NSA terrorist surveillance program then shifted from the tangible to the hypothetical, from the actual to the, "but it could be." With not one verifiable instance to point to, accusations and the fabrication of worse case scenarios are all they have.

Hypothetical arguments are employed against issues the present administration is wrestling with including: the Patriot Act, the second NSA initiative involving phone record (not phone call) data mining, the REAL ID Act and Social Security reform to name a few.

Here's a non-existent, wildly improbable scenario for you to consider.

What if the liberal special interest groups and bleeding-heart alarmists from the "progressive" left actually had to rely on facts and tangibles when they argue in support of their fringe causes? What if they had to produce that person who was disenfranchised of his civil rights because of the Patriot Act? What if they had to produce the American citizen not associated with any terrorist entity who had his telephone wiretapped? What if they have to introduce the American public to the immigrant who was detained by law enforcement along with proof positive of the emotional scarring inflicted by being asked his immigration status?

Sadly, but not surprisingly, we will never meet these unfortunate, downtrodden victims because they are hypothetical creations whose injuries cannot be documented. Besides, when conservatives offer similar speculation in support of their concerns they are routinely dismissed as, well, not realistic. I mean really, who would believe in the possibility of a few million people being vaporized should terrorists detonate a nuclear weapon at the September 11th Memorial dedication? That's lunacy.

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal.us. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education project. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, numerous radio shows coast to coast and his pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us Copyright © 2006 Frank Salvato

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