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News Analysis: Lake County Sheriff Not Seeking Popular Vote on Undocumented Immigrant Issue

Sheriff Mark Curran, who supports bill requiring all Illinois motorists be licensed and insured, explains he feels it's the right thing to do.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran is used to getting hate mail.

His unorthodox approach and views, like spending a week in the county jail to bring attention to conditions, have garnered him plenty of hate mail.

But Curran doesn’t care, he said. He’s just trying to do the right thing.

And so, he’s backing a state bill that may not be wildly popular but a law that Curran feels would make roads safer. He has joined with the Highway Safety Coalition to lobby for a bill requiring all Illinois motorists be licensed and insured, including undocumented immigrants.

One reason he wants to see the General Assembly pass a bill sponsored by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and House Rep. Edward Acevedo, is there are 250,000 undocumented immigrants on the roadways today without driver’s licenses. He feels requiring those drivers to learn the Rules of the Road and get insurance would make roads safer.

Curran is not the only law enforcement official joining with the coalition, which this week announced renewed efforts to introduce and pass the driver's license measure. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez, Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington, Berwyn Police Chief Jim Riz and  Melrose Park Police Chief Rosa Pitassi are voicing support of the bill.

For police departments, stopping and arresting motorists without a driver’s license takes a lot of resources, Curran said. It takes time to write up reports, wait for cars to be towed and process offenders, he said.

“As we see more and more substantial cuts to policing, we need to priorities our resources,” the sheriff said. “It does not make sense to be allocating so much in police resources to no valid DL (driver’s license.)”

He finds the undocumented immigrants on the roads just want to get to work and are trying to provide for their families.

“The political reality should be pretty clear that there is a growing support for comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

“For those on the other side of the political issue, the reality is there will be immigration reform. Hopefully, it will be sooner, not later. If these people are going to be on a pathway to citizenship, why wouldn’t we want them to obey the Rules of the Roads in the interim?”

Curran knows his position may not be popular with some. But he is not in a popularity contest. If he were, he’d probably lose. He points to the positions he’s taken in the past that were popular like spending a week in the Lake County jail to see what it’s like or switching parties, he is now a Republican. There also the time he called for the State’s Attorney’s Michael Waller to fire a prosecutor for “inappropriate comments” he made about the Lake County criminal system to a national newspaper.

“The State’s Attorney (Waller) hasn’t talked to me since,” Curran said. But, “I’m not in this game to make friends or whatever, even if I was, I’m not doing a good job at that.”

“I know what the right thing is,” Curran said. “I know what the reality is. I’m going to speak out on behalf of that.”

Dave Bell November 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Uh, the reality Mr. Curran is that they are here illegally. Why don't you do your job and enforce the law vis-a-vis immigration which would preempt this measure? Also, if by "comprehensive immigration reform" you mean rewarding criminals with amnesty and expanding legal immigration beyond its current already numerically unsustainable level, I doubt consensus has changed. Only corrupt Republicans who, having lost the White House, will now defer entirely to their cheap labor wing and join Democrats in trying to out-curry favor among selfish ethno-centric lobbies, especially whiny Hispanics, by trying to parley like the Democrats (good luck there) mass/illegal immigration into political advantage at the expense of the country. Politicians, they are as useless as cops.
Dave Bell November 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
www.numbersusa.com/content/news/november-15-2012/gallup-62-americans-say-stopping-illegal-immigration-should-be-top-priority.ht
Margaret McCarthy November 16, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Another set of laws not enforced. Winking at our laws is false compassion and leads to more law-breaking since there is no penalty for doing so.
Nancy J. Thorner November 17, 2012 at 12:21 AM
I was always disappointed with Curran from the time he announced his switch from Democrat to Republican. He's a RINO in every sense of the word. He has become a fanatic in the Catholic religion, which is always dangerous when this happens. In Curran's eyes illegal immigrants are all God's children and we must have mercy on them. But there is a catch, being illegal means they have broken the law to be in this country. Without the rule of law anarchy steps in. How long will it be before Americans who love their county will revolt against giving freebies to illegal aliens, and others who believe the government should support them? And where is this money coming from? Why, from taxpayers who must pay for the keep of the illegal aliens to the tune of thousands of dollars every year., Most don't come here to accept the American way; they enter illegally because they know they will be shown how be takers from what has become a broken and declining nation. How shameful that Mark Curran is in law enforcement to begin with and worse yet that he was somehow elected sheriff of Lake County!
Dave Bell November 18, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Nancy/Margaret, Of course you are both absolutely right. We are in our current mess vis-a-vis the tens of millions here illegally thanks to both cheap labor Republicans and complicit vote pandering Dems. Inaction on illegal immigration for decades, along with rolling amnesties (here we go again by the way), have only served to beget more of the same. Even talk of amnesty causes documented concurrent runs on the border. Of course the real tragedy is not only illegal immigration, but the total number of immigrants pouring into the U.S. in the last forty years, including legal immigrants that together, represent sustained annual numbers in the millions, furthermore without respite as in the past. This is a radical departure from the historic patterns that were much lower in number and were peppered with respites, or "time-outs," to allow for assimilation, which is clearly NOT happening anymore as the U.S. grows increasingly balkanized and ever more at risk for home grown terrorism, in addition to which, the result has also been an environmental disaster (U.S. population up fifty percent since 1970 due over ninety percent to immigration) and an economic disaster with stagnant/declining wages in real terms since the 1960's.
Dave Bell November 18, 2012 at 05:52 PM
And, to add insult to injury, Americans' tax burdens (especially state and local/property) have become defacto subsidies to businesses exploiting cheap labor in the form of education (including workers' dependents), health care (primarily emergency room Services), as well as infrastructure/externalized environmental costs from population growth. The role of religion, especially the Catholic Church, of course, as Margaret correctly points out, has been especially problematic. You must understand immigration, and population growth, is nothing more than a pyramid scheme; indeed the ultimate Ponzi scheme at the expense of Main street. Just as businesses benefit from cheap labor at the expense of others, and politicians served special interests, also at the expense of others, so do religions from the inevitable growth in their own fiefdoms. As for cheap labor, we must understand nothing has really changed in America vis-a-vis its love of slavery, which mass/illegal immigration represents, i.e., nothing more than a reprise of the system of a perennial, permanent underclass of workers since the days when the refrain was, "...but who will pick the cotton?" Albeit nowadays we hear, "...they do the jobs Americans won't," always coming from employers of course that can't afford to pay a living wage!
Dave Bell November 18, 2012 at 05:52 PM
And, to add insult to injury, Americans' tax burdens (especially state and local/property) have become defacto subsidies to businesses exploiting cheap labor in the form of education (including workers' dependents), health care (primarily emergency room Services), as well as infrastructure/externalized environmental costs from population growth. The role of religion, especially the Catholic Church, of course, as Margaret correctly points out, has been especially problematic. You must understand immigration, and population growth, is nothing more than a pyramid scheme; indeed the ultimate Ponzi scheme at the expense of Main street. Just as businesses benefit from cheap labor at the expense of others, and politicians served special interests, also at the expense of others, so do religions from the inevitable growth in their own fiefdoms. As for cheap labor, we must understand nothing has really changed in America vis-a-vis its love of slavery, which mass/illegal immigration represents, i.e., nothing more than a reprise of the system of a perennial, permanent underclass of workers since the days when the refrain was, "...but who will pick the cotton?" Albeit nowadays we hear, "...they do the jobs Americans won't," always coming from employers of course that can't afford to pay a living wage!
Dave Bell November 18, 2012 at 05:59 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-super-pac-hopes-to-give-cover-to-pro-immigration-republicans/2012/11/16/c3070b74-300b-11e2-a30e-5ca76eeec857_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend
Dave Bell November 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Gee, guess who is funding this super PAC (above), could it be cheap labor loving corporate America????????
Tom B November 20, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Our government officials are sworn into office, they swear to uphold the laws of our nation. When they refuse to do that, as they do by not deporting illegals in this country, they should be removed from office immediately! We could start with the president, who keeps fighting Gov Jan Brewer in AZ who is trying to do the job she was elected to do...uphold the laws of her state and throw the illegals out! Lets stop making up watered down names like "undocumented immigrants" and call them what they are...law breakers! Illegals! Do your job and deport them!
Stevie Janowski November 27, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Is the sheriff saying it’s also acceptable for undocumented immigrants to shoplift and steal to feed their families? How about robbing banks? Give us a list of laws that they do not have to obey. Or, perhaps sheriff Curran can tell us the laws that U.S. citizens need not follow.
Dave Bell November 27, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Excellent points all Stevie!!! Unfortunately it seems all too common for elected officials, once in office, to believe they themselves are above the law, better than the rest of us who put them there, thus entitling them to elitist, condescending discretionary/dictatorial power vis-a-vis selective law enforcement and even defiance of the democratic process, e.g., Obama's recent "executive amnesty" in defiance of federal immigration enforcement. .

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