Exclusive: Illegal Alien Suit against Arizona Rancher Should Signal a Call to Action by Citizens

by MICHAEL CUTLER February 19, 2009
A rancher in Arizona was recently sued for $32 million by 16 illegal aliens for “violating their civil rights.” Roger Barnett stopped more than a dozen people on his land – including a previously deported narcotics trafficker – holding them at gunpoint until the authorities could arrive. A jury found this week that he did not violate their civil rights, but awarded six of them $78,000 in actual and punitive damages.
As the Washington Times pointed out in an editorial published the day before the verdict was handed down, “Few cases better illustrate how dysfunctional this country's immigration and “justice” systems are today.”
Here is the bottom line: The enforcement of our laws needs to be seen by all involved as being equitable and reasonable. When the issue of fairness and reasonableness are absent, the real danger is that law-abiding people may decide that the system – and their government – has failed them. 
Political scientists talk about the need for governments to possess "political legitimacy." When the vast majority of citizens believe that their politicians are guilty of nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance, that government may lose political legitimacy.
I do not claim to be a political scientist but I can tell you that the enforcement of the laws should provide an appropriate mechanism that the citizens of a nation trust to protect them and their families, as well as being objective and fair.
In my humble opinion, these critical qualities have been lacking for far too long. 
Advocates for amnesty program and open borders have referred to the immigration issue as representing the new "Civil Rights" battle. I actually agree with this statement, but that it should apply to the citizens of the United States, as their civil rights have been trampled by their own government.
Illegal aliens are not entitled to civil rights. Civil rights include the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to work in a workplace that is free of discrimination and the right to be a full participant in the communities in which they live. Illegal aliens have no right to vote, and illegal aliens are not supposed to work in our country. 
In fact, an alien who votes in a federal election, whether he is present in the United States legally or illegally, constitutes a criminal violation of the provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 611.
Under that law, an alien who votes for a federally elected official can be punished by a maximum of one year in jail.
I have heard precious few politicians even raise the issue of how the civil rights of the citizens of our nation are being ignored by those who seek to blur the distinction between citizens and aliens and between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do – we must stop sitting on the sidelines.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Michael Cutler is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a recognized authority who addresses the implications of immigration on national security and criminal justice. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org

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