Rich Tucker
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Accidents will happen. But, as any insurance company will tell you, most accidents could have been prevented. That’s what allows an accident to become a tragedy.
 
Consider Michael Sprinkles. The 37-year-old paramedic was riding his motorcycle home from work on Sept. 6 when the California Highway Patrol says a car crossed the double-yellow line and killed him. Sprinkles’ death could easily have been prevented. The driver of the car shouldn’t have been behind the wheel -- or even in this country. Suspect Juan Bibinz is an illegal alien.

This isn’t Bibinz’s first brush with the law. He’s been arrested a dozen times. “He has been convicted of four felonies, drug charges, thefts and a count of willful cruelty to a child, for which he served five days in jail,” the Los Angeles Daily News reported on Sept. 7. Oh, and he’s been deported to Mexico -- once.

How can an illegal alien be arrested again and again, yet sent home only once? Maybe because it’s official L.A.P.D. policy that officers can’t ask about a suspect’s citizenship. “Special Order 40, enacted in 1979, bars police from enforcing federal immigration laws,” is how the ACLU put it in a 2001 news release. And, it noted, “the Police Commission’s own Independent Review Panel noted how critical the Order is to ensure public safety.” Tell that to Michael Sprinkles.

The ACLU claims that Special Order 40 is “essential.” But a better word for it would be “illegal.” The state’s penal code reads, “Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.” Not much ambiguity there.

Special Order 40 is useful, though. It explains why the United States is facing an illegal immigration crisis: We don’t take illegal immigration seriously.

As David Frum wrote recently in the Weekly Standard, “Imagine if the United States enforced its drug laws the way it enforces its immigration rules. Local governments would be building open-air drug markets the way they now build hiring halls for ‘day labor.’”

It’s even worse than that. Los Angeles not only wants shelters for illegal aliens -- it wants private companies to build them. A draft city ordinance would require stores where illegals gather to provide “a minimum level of amenities” including drinking water and toilets. “This multimillion-dollar business ignores the fact that these problems are created by the stores,” sais the sponsor of the ordinance, City Councilman Bernard Parks.

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Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com.