66 thoughts on ““Racistas!”

  1. It’s difficult for me to believe that it is necessary for a county sheriff to call INS solely for a translator. I do understand that an officer can’t depend on the accuracy or veracity of the translation from someone who walks up to them on the street, but there are certainly people on duty at the sheriff’s office who speak Spanish and Creole. To speed things up, an officer can use the radio or their phone, on speaker mode, to call an official translator. Just have the detained person talk in to one of those and the person on the other end can reply in English. This isn’t brain surgery, and It just goes to discredit the officer’s actual motivation for calling in INS.

    1. And Marco Rubio makes some very fine points about there not being a “right” to immigrate to the US (although one might exclude refugees from that analysis, as the US has signed on to a multi-lateral treaty promising not to turn away those that meet the requirements for refugee status.) This piece however goes beyond the simple question of whether or not we have a set of immigration laws that must be followed by those wishing to immigrate. It points out two things that should not be ignored and are worth discussion: 1. What about the 17-year-old passenger that is arrested by the deputies and held for going on 2 hours in the middle of the night only to be released once Border Patrol arrives on scene? Was there probable cause for that arrest? Are there those who take a position that deputies may detain anyone who speaks little english and has no US ID on their person as a “suspected illegal alien”? Even passengers in vehicles and children? Should this minor’s guardians not have been called immediately to the scene? Or in their absence Child Protective Services? Secondly, what about the employers of these suspected undocumented aliens? After all, without jobs there would be no “illegal aliens” (or very few in any case)to deport. Employing undocumented aliens is a civil immigration offense as is overstaying a visa – it can even reach the level of a criminal offense if there is a pattern or if the alien(s) being employed were smuggled into the country. If what is being applauded is outstanding police work – specifically the willingness to strictly enforce ALL laws – even those that are arguably outside the scope of the officer’s training and his jurisdictional powers – then why are these same officers paying “no nevermind” to the infractions of the employers? In the case of the chef the employer stands before the officer and Border Patrol and in the case of the electrician there is probable cause to at least investigate further the criminal Florida statutory offense of allowing someone without a driver’s license to drive one’s car… If this “discretion” afforded to these officers by their Sheriff is not empowering the deputies to fulfill some personal political agenda more so then a fervent belief that all laws must be enforced – then why the double standard? In these examples only the immigrant faces the consequences and employers’ infractions are ignored and as a consequence silently sanctioned by the system.

      1. Aha! Now there is a response certainly worthy of your well-deserved cred as a responsible reporter -and- as an invaluable source of public information, Dear Editor! Thank you!

        You are now asking some of the very same questions I’m asking. Why?

        Well, some of the seeming “inequity” and inconsistency stems from another fact you pointed out: Jurisdiction.

        1.) While I have consistently pointed out that local authorities DO have the authority and responsibility to determine the ID of a suspect, they must then pass on the duty of INVESTIGATING (if need be) to the proper authorities of the federal government. Note that this was done in ALL the cases you’ve brought before us.

        2.) Local authorities (including the SAO) have NO authority to investigate any suspected irregularities regarding federal regulations as applied to employment. They may be called upon to assist in the investigation, but that’s it. In any event, I suspect that the proper federal authorities will be in contact with the owner of El Siboney.

        3.) The same holds true with regard to the incident involving that traffic stop where the fellow did not have a license. The MCSO has a duty to report this incident to FHP, DMV, etc., for followup. Here, I suspect that the owner’s insurance company may also get involved.

        4.) At first blush, it would appear that you have valid questions regarding the young man who was detained. That said, we have no idea why he was detained in the first place. In addition, it appears, from the short glimpses we’ve been afforded, that this young fellow may have been combative and uncooperative. That does play into the narrative of events.

        This brings me to my objection to your choice of titles for this piece: There is absolutely NO evidence of “racism” in your article. So why promote it as such?


        1. O.K. In this piece we focus on some new things.

          [We’ve already had the whole constitutional/jurisdictional discussion on past articles. I continue to give credence to the concept that there are constitutional issues with these lengthy arrests that are occurring during routing traffic stops when the only reasonable suspicion, in some cases, is a possible CIVIL federal immigration law violation. This is based on my communications with attorneys who are well versed in this body of law as well as my extensive reading of the binding jurisprudence available free online. In fact, even federal immigration agents must first determine that an alien is a flight risk in order to arrest them on a CIVIL infraction without first having to obtain a warrant. I am however not a lawyer… I also continue to believe that a written policy makes good sense – especially in light of Mr. Kaufman’s words alerting us that deputies are thanking him for pushing the issue because they would indeed enjoy having some guidance on this subject. Other jurisdictions do indeed provide written policies for officers – they spell out the various federal and local laws that come into play when it comes to enforcing criminal or civil immigration matters. I question the good faith of those who argue against providing a clear policy and guidance for MC deputies and for the immigrant community.]

          This week we have this:


          What happened: Immigrants who are LEGALLY authorized to remain in the US at this time were arrested [they were not free to go and one was a minor passenger] during a routine traffic stop for at least 1.5 hours for the sole purpose of waiting for Border Patrol to come to the scene and assure the deputies that they had not violated any immigration laws.

          “Probable cause” [deputies need probable cause to arrest people like this – requiring them to sit there for 1.5 hours in the back of a patrol car for purposes that have nothing to do with the traffic stop mission] was that the minor had no ID [he was not driving so was not required to have any ID on his person] and both had poor English skills. The minor’s parents were not called to the scene. The other man did have an ID and was otherwise identified through his vehicle registration and driver’s license information. The vehicle was owned by the other young man.

          As to the old standby: “It appears he may have been combative” and ‘we didn’t see the whole incident so we don’t know what really happened.’: Let me set your mind to rest: No. In fact the minor, in terms of direct interaction with the deputies, was the most docile, non-combative person he could possibly be. I know this because I did spend the time looking at the entire length of the [available] video footage regarding the incident. He did begin speaking his mind – to himself – after about an hour of sitting in the back of the patrol car waiting and wanting to go home – because he was distraught at what he took to be a grave injustice.

          In fact, both young men were extremely well-behaved as evidenced by the available video. The other man had been issued a Florida DL – the deputies found it in the system – though not on his person. His FL DL had been expired for several months. He was issued a citation for the non-criminal infraction of driving with license expired less than 6 months.

          Border Patrol released both young men who were not found to be in violation of any federal immigration law.


          The headline: As you are aware, when a headline is put in quotes it means the words are those of a person cited in the article — not those of the journalists who created the piece. Virtually every news publication in the world uses this format from time to time.

          Why use that particular headline in this piece?

          The fact that this young man – a minor who is in this country LEGALLY at this time – was held by officers in this way during a routine traffic stop – and that the incident created in him the feeling that those officers must be “racistas!” is – right or wrong – something to be looked at. These are his emotions – based on his experience. What will be the long term effect of this experience on this young man?

          In any event, the fact that he experienced this in this way is certainly something for concerned citizens – and even more so – those in charge – to be aware of and to think about and not shove under the rug.


          You wrote: “The same holds true with regard to the incident involving that traffic stop where the fellow did not have a license. The MCSO has a duty to report this incident to FHP, DMV, etc., for followup. Here, I suspect that the owner’s insurance company may also get involved.”

          Here you apparently ASSUME that the deputy did or will carry out “his duty” [as you put it] to report to FHP, DMV, insurer, etc. the alleged infraction of the business owner. But why would you assume this under these circumstances and why are you not concerned that you saw no evidence of the deputies doing so immediately?

          When it is the 17-year old foreign man you assume he has been “combative” even though there is no indication that he has been and when there is a question of the deputy apparently letting the business owner get away with a possible violation of law without further investigation on his part, you assume that the deputy reported or will report the infraction to someone else [instead of following up himself on enforcement of the CRIMINAL Florida Statutes [his “duty”] that prohibits a car owner from allowing someone without a DL to drive their car] even though the video shows you that the deputy tells the business representative that he’s just “letting [them] know” that the man had told him about how they knew he had no DL. [There seems to be a double standard in your use of presumptions.]

          And you wrote: You “suspect” that the proper federal authorities will be in contact with the owner of El Siboney. However, you are unmoved by the fact that the owner’s representative was standing right there next to the deputy and the Border Patrol agent neither made a move toward asking the employer’s representative questions about immigration law violations – the types of questions that you argue are perfectly ok for the deputy to ask when it comes to the immigrant.

          You strongly defend the deputies’ honor in enforcing ALL laws against the immigrants [legal or illegal] and you tell me that is “his duty” but when it comes to the non-immigrant employers, the “duty” to fervently enforce ALL laws turns into grey matter- we have no more than some “suspicion” or “assumption” that something will be done some other time and you are satisfied with that. What happened to the all important “duty to uphold ALL laws”? Why doesn’t it matter anymore that the deputy has sworn such an oath?

          What justifies the deputies’ [and your] lack of interest in him pursuing his “duty” when the subject of the enforcement activity is the business owner – the one on the other side of the allegedly unlawful employment contract – the one who may also be violating federal immigration law?

  2. We latinos are many different races. We are white, black, Indian, meztisos and asian. I fail to believe that police are just targeting non white hispanics in their questioning. The Argentine man being arrested is a white hispanic. Most Argentinians are white of european ancestry.

    I am glad the police are asking about the status of suspected illegal aliens.

  3. Dear Editor,

    I find the title of this article to be particularly unfortunate on several levels:

    1.) It is the duty of all law enforcement officers to follow federal laws/mandates: Even though they may find some of them to be distasteful. It is also the responsibility of all citizens to follow those federal laws/regulations, as well…regardless of their personal beliefs. Police officers don’t make the laws…we do, through our legislative bodies.

    2.) Admittedly, the offenses you have portrayed, using edited video, are minor. But, where do you draw the line? Would you be so intent on the subject if the crimes charged were “major” offenses…felonies? Or, do you just ignore that? If one were to follow your reckoning, that would mean that if an officer questioned ANY person, he would not/should not be allowed to investigate that person’s possible criminal record beyond Monroe County. I’m sure that you’re aware that MCSO has apprehended more than a few people who were out-of-state fugitives (some with a violent history) as well as a few international fugitives. So, I’ll ask again: Just where do you draw the line?

    3.) As you are also keenly aware, our police departments assist federal authorities in enforcing a wide array of federal offenses…not just those involving immigration laws. That’s what we pay them for. Again, where do you draw the line?

    This is where I take issue with the notion that the MCSO needs to craft a “policy” regarding their level of collaboration with federal authorities: Regardless of how craftily-worded such a policy might evolve, it is certain to cause controversy. But, even more to the point, that policy will be overridden by federal authorities. In effect, such a policy wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on. So…why bother?

    I apologize for being such a pest on this issue. Hope you understand.


    1. “It is the duty of all law enforcement officers to follow federal laws/mandates”


      “[T]he Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the State’s officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulation” — Supreme Court of the United States in Printz v. United States

      1. Ah, yes…that “old rhubarb” again. You should be ashamed of yourself, Thomas! 😉

        Of course, you are right in that the federal government cannot COMPEL states to comply with certain federal laws…per the decision in Printz v. U.S. (concerning provisions of the Brady Act). BUT…you left out the second part of that decision: The federal government is not precluded, in any way, from seeking the “voluntary” compliance of state and local subdivisions with those provisions. At the time, many states and political subdivisions did exactly that through ordinances, regulations and statutes. The classic double-edged sword!

        Of course, as we know…during the intervening years to today, several states and political subdivisions have relaxed such provisions…even abandoned them entirely, thereby “liberating” the gun from its chains.
        Such is the life cycle of “political change”. Those winds constantly blow…and change direction at our national whim.

        The Printz decision brings to light the fact that our current national “whim” demands simply that “if you see something, say something”. Yes, it’s a political slogan. But it carries weight with many citizens who have the absolute right to do just that. In that vein alone, each law enforcement officer, acting merely as a citizen, can (and should) contact the relevant authorities…as these offices did in these videos. It is a perfectly legal action…



        1. Dickford,

          1. Do you believe that the actions of these deputies in all of the incidents we have shown has been limited to “if you see something, say something?”. From my perspective we have interrogations and prolonged detentions which are the equivalent of “arrests” occurring.

          2. As to detainer holds the Florida Sheriff’s Association does not recommend holding persons based on these informal detainer hold requests from federal immigration agents because they have determined that to do so would violate the 4th amendment and subject the Sheriff’s departments to liability for deprivation of constitutional rights. The Association has put out a “Legal Alert” to Sheriffs. In that alert the following is stated:
          “As a result of these cases, sheriffs should be aware that any detention of an ICE detainee without probable cause may subject the sheriff’s office to liability for an unlawful seizure. A suspect may be detained if Form I – 247 indicates that a warrant of arrest for removal proceedings has been served or that ICE has obtained an order of deportation or removal (see attached form). In either case, jail staff should request a copy of the warrant or the order of deportation to determine that probable cause in fact exists for the continued detention.” https://www.flsheriffs.org/uploads/docs/Legal_Alert_-_ICE_Detainers2.pdf

          3. There is no national prerogative based on some “whim” to violate civil rights. Of course, ultimately each person harmed must fight for those rights when officials have chosen to ignore constitutional safeguards. In at least one case that I am aware of, our Sheriff has honored a detainer hold, absent the constitutionally required probable cause and judicial warrant.

          4. As to the powers that local law enforcement officers have to act in the realm of enforcement of federal immigration laws we look to the US Code.


          8 US Code 1357 spells out the powers of federal agents to act in immigration enforcement, how local and state agents can be deputized to have some or all of those same powers, as well as which limited powers local and state agents have without the need for an agreement, special training and deputizing. [Additionally, when it comes to criminal aspects of immigration law there are other provisions in US Code that authorize local officers to act in specific instances and local officers are authorized to act when there is a federal warrant for the arrest of a person.]

          As to a description of those powers that federal agents have to act: The code begins with this:

          8 U.S. Code § 1357 – Powers of immigration officers and employees

          (a) Powers without warrant Any officer or employee of the Service authorized under regulations prescribed by the Attorney General shall have power without warrant—
          (1) to interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States;

          In order for local or state officers to obtain that first “power” to [without warrant]”interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States” a local or state agent must be specifically authorized by the federal government.

          (g) Performance of immigration officer functions by State officers and employees
          (1) Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, the Attorney General may enter into a written agreement with a State, or any political subdivision of a State, pursuant to which an officer or employee of the State or subdivision, who is determined by the Attorney General to be qualified to perform a function of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States (including the transportation of such aliens across State lines to detention centers), may carry out such function at the expense of the State or political subdivision and to the extent consistent with State and local law.
          (2) An agreement under this subsection shall require that an officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State performing a function under the agreement shall have knowledge of, and adhere to, Federal law relating to the function, and shall contain a written certification that the officers or employees performing the function under the agreement have received adequate training regarding the enforcement of relevant Federal immigration laws.
          (3) In performing a function under this subsection, an officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Attorney General.
          (4) In performing a function under this subsection, an officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State may use Federal property or facilities, as provided in a written agreement between the Attorney General and the State or subdivision.
          (5) With respect to each officer or employee of a State or political subdivision who is authorized to perform a function under this subsection, the specific powers and duties that may be, or are required to be, exercised or performed by the individual, the duration of the authority of the individual, and the position of the agency of the Attorney General who is required to supervise and direct the individual, shall be set forth in a written agreement between the Attorney General and the State or political subdivision.
          (6) The Attorney General may not accept a service under this subsection if the service will be used to displace any Federal employee.
          (7) Except as provided in paragraph (8), an officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State performing functions under this subsection shall not be treated as a Federal employee for any purpose other than for purposes of chapter 81 of title 5 (relating to compensation for injury) and sections 2671 through 2680 of title 28 (relating to tort claims).
          (8) An officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State acting under color of authority under this subsection, or any agreement entered into under this subsection, shall be considered to be acting under color of Federal authority for purposes of determining the liability, and immunity from suit, of the officer or employee in a civil action brought under Federal or State law.
          (9) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require any State or political subdivision of a State to enter into an agreement with the Attorney General under this subsection.

          The specific exemptions from the requirement for local or state officers to be specifically authorized as stated above and to act within the realm of federal immigration enforcement are spelled out as follows:

          (10) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require an agreement under this subsection in order for any officer or employee of a State or political subdivision of a State—
          (A) to communicate with the Attorney General regarding the immigration status of any individual, including reporting knowledge that a particular alien is not lawfully present in the United States; or
          (B) otherwise to cooperate with the Attorney General in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of aliens not lawfully present in the United States.

          So, “communicating” with or “cooperating” with federal agents does not require an agreement,special training, and federal oversite.

          What is happening here?

          When a deputy asks an alien about their legal status [Are you illegal? Do you have a visa? Are you allowed to be here?] are they not performing the function set out above as a power of a federal agent to “interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States”?

          Is that not a power specifically described in this section of US Code as belonging to local and state agents ONLY through an agreement requiring federal training and supervision?

          Surely you don’t believe that asking [interrogating] an alien about their status is the same as “communicating” with federal agents about knowledge already in the possession of the local officer and surely you don’t believe that it is the same as “cooperating” with the federal government.

          Surely, this section of US Code was written for a reason. It calls for federal authorization, an agreement, training and oversite by federal agents for local and state officials to obtain the powers it sets out for federal agents.

          The deputies here are taking it upon themselves to “interrogate” persons of differing nationalities that they come in contact with about their alien status, and they are “detaining” them and “arresting” them [not free to go] for purposes of enforcing federal immigration law.

          The federal program authorized by this enabling statute is called the 287(g) program. None of our local Sheriff’s deputies are authorized under that program to enforce federal immigration laws.

    2. See my other response to your comment above. I think I may have addressed much of what you raised… But I will add that yes of course officers can and do check for warrants during traffic stops and their right to do so has been upheld by the Supreme Court but that is not the situation being described by our piece.

      Additionally as to the great work that officers do in apprehending dangerous criminals via investigations based on warrants or intuition and fine policing and “where do you draw the line?” We draw the line where the Constitution says to draw the line.

      1. Bingo.

        An ICE “detainer” is not a warrant, nor is it a judicial order. Absent one of those two things, local law enforcement has no business holding someone “because the feds want us to.”

        As far as the Constitution is concerned, Article I Section 9 forbids the federal government to regulate immigration. That could have been amended any time after 1808, but never was, so per the 10th Amendment all federal immigration laws are null and void.

        1. Thomas, dunno know where you get that interpretation of Section 9 of the First Amendment. Here’s what it says:

          “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

          Within the context of the time and the Constitution itself, that clause has ALWAYS specifically referred to slavery…not to Immigration itself. Please…don’t start with that Dr. Ben Carson nonsense.

          Look around…you will find that Congress is clearly empowered to control “Naturalization”. That’s “legal immigration” to the great unwashed.

          Many of the vast powers employed by Congress over the past seventy years is a consequence of a liberal interpretation of the Commerce Clause…in conjunction with the Necessary and Proper Clause…both contained in Article 1. For all practical purposes, this interpretation has served to nullify the Tenth Amendment: It is usually considered moot. I hope it stays that way…


  4. There’s a continued error in your reporting that is driving me nuts. Police are calling Border Patrol in to INTERPRET not translate suspects’ comments in Spanish (or any foreign language). You TRANSLATE products written in another language. You INTERPRET the spoken words of a foreign language. Whew. Glad that’s off my back. Hope to see this use of vocabulary used properly.

  5. I do have to hand it to the kid who is locked up in the back seat. He didn’t have time to learn English, but he did already learn that if you want to make headlines in the USA, just say “Racist.”

  6. Yes, Naja…we have engaged in a lively discourse of the issue(s) you presented. You have responded capably and well. Thank you. Yet, no resolution to those issues has evolved. Dammit! 😉

    Please allow me to share my studied opinions with regard to some of the points you raised:

    1.) Follow the Constitution. Which one? The “originalists” out there claim that the document that was ratified in 1787 is the real deal. Y’know…the version that took great pains to institutionalize slavery -and- reduced most “people of color” to the ranks of chattels…undeserving of consideration as human beings. OR, maybe it’s the version which included the Bill of Rights (ratified in 1791)…and promptly ignored by our judiciary for 150 years thereafter? OR, maybe it’s the one where the Bill of Rights took actual hold in this country during the 1960s-1970s (Miranda, Roe v. Wade, Voting Rights Act, Brown v. Board of Ed., etc., etc.)? OR, maybe the Bill of Rights (primarily) as it currently stands after the withering assaults on it subsequent to it’s very recognition? Which one? Pick yer pizen (as they say in the movies)…not a single one of them has directly challenged our archaic notions on immigration. They still stand as the law, Why? It has always been my view that we have a “living Constitution”. That means, of course…that we gotta roll with the punches.

    2.) I have never questioned your statements that you’ve consulted with various “immigration experts” and their writings. You’re a very studious person with great insights and intelligence. Yet, you cannot point to anyone who has made ANY demonstrable inroads on this issue, despite their vaunted “expertise”. That goes double for “immigration attorneys”. If they had any discernible record of success, their potential clients would form a line from Key West to Bangor, Maine. They don’t…

    3.) Your response to my objection to your “Racistas” headline is silly. Just because some rag (like National Enquirer, et al) deploys such tactics does not excuse your oversight. It is well beneath the dignity and respect that you have richly earned in pursuit of your valiant journalistic objectives. Please…don’t muck up the waters.

    4.) The difference between detention and arrest…should be obvious to you. People can be (and are) routinely detained…for periods ranging from 24 to 48 hours, without being charged with any offense. This is our common reality. Consider this: The young man in question was not denied his Constitutional rights. He was (I’m guessing, for lack of details) that he was being detained in the course of investigating a possible crime. He MAY have been a participant in the activity that was being investigated -OR- he MAY have been a victim. This is a common predicament. There are even instances where people are detained in “protective custody” or even as “material witnesses”…all without any recorded “arrest”. And, yes…if proper protocol is observed, it is entirely legal (Constitutional).

    In conclusion, I would suggest that (if you haven’t already) arrange for a ridealong with the cops for a shift…like Dennis Reeves Cooper did (and reported). It did have an impact on his attitude…


    1. The situation: According to the incident report, the driver of the vehicle [who was not this 17-year-old young man – who was a mere passenger] had parked his car in such a way that he “partially blocked the roadway”. That is not apparent in the video, so we assume the car pulled over closer to the sidewalk before the video begins. The driver had a foreign ID. We see him at one point pull it from the dash. He had been issued a FL DL that he had failed to renew upon expiration. He did not have that DL on his person but he did have his registration [the car is registered in his name] and the officers checked the name on his registration which told them his license had expired less than 6 months previous. That is not a criminal infraction. The officer would normally issue a ticket and tell the man how to go about paying it and release him once he’d found someone else to drive the car. [There was an adult woman, also a legal alien, in the car with them.] The dash cam and bwc video shows the deputies are very clear about what they are doing. They believe they have some illegal aliens on their hands and they are waiting for Border Patrol to come and likely “pick them up”. When it turns out that they are in fact here legally they are freed and the officer later writes in his report that he had called in a federal agency [BP] to send agents who would drive one and half hours – halfway down the Keys – to act as Spanish interpreters for MCSO. That is what happened. Please address that scenario rather than continuing to assume that something else must have occurred. This 17-year old was not being investigated for some other “crime”. Whether you believe it or not – please assume that is so for the sake of argument. [The concept that Border Patrol was needed in order to “identify” the minor: The officers had many options in how to identify him. His guardian could have been called to bring ID for example. I find it interesting that his guardian was not called to the scene rather than Border Patrol… KWPD and many other law enforcement agencies is able to deal with these same situations without requiring the aid of Border Patrol agents.]

      As to the difference between detention and arrest: Based on a “reasonable suspicion” [of a criminal act] an officer can “detain” you “briefly” for further inquiry. What was the “criminal act”? In order to hold you for going on two hours it can’t be based on a “hunch” or “suspicion” that you are an “illegal alien” – there must be some “probable cause”. Where is the probable cause that a “crime” was being committed? Most immigration law is civil. Shall every parent in Monroe County now make sure that their children have identification cards with them at all times? Or is it just those with an accent or some other criteria? How thick does your accent have to be in order to be subjected to these arrests on the side of the road?

      As to arrest powers of local law enforcement: A local law enforcement officer can arrest someone for a misdemeanor if it occurred in their presence. There was no indication that these men entered the country illegally [a misdemeanor]. Certainly these officers did not see these men enter the country illegally. They can arrest anyone based on probable cause that they committed a felony. They can arrest anyone based on a warrant for their arrest.

      “Racistas!”: As to quoting the young man who used the word “Racista!” in our headline and needing to feel any shame about that: I believe nearly everyone in this country [world for that matter], of every color and national origin is a bit of a “racist”. There should be no taboo on this subject. To the contrary, it desperately needs airing out. This kid thinks the cops made him sit around like that because he is Hispanic. He thinks that is an example of racism. Let’s talk about that. I personally didn’t get the impression that they held any animosity towards those young men for being hispanic per se but when you detain people simply because their english skills are no good well – you have to expect that person might come up with that conclusion. Those that cringe every time someone dares question someone’s motives as “racist” or even dare to say the word are, in my opinion, being a bit too naive and are perhaps looking to hide in the comfort zone and no good ever comes from hiding in the comfort zone. This country has issues with racism. That is a fact. There ain’t no denying it. The new President has helped to reveal how some people feel about immigrants and some of what we see is animosity and xenophobia and racism. He has brought the subject to the forefront. So let’s talk about it.

      But what is the answer to this question of how to enforce immigration law? Like you say, we have these laws, they should be enforced. Well, how do federal agents do it? How does one try to enforce federal immigration law – law that must necessarily target those that “appear” to be “foreigners” – and still avoid being called out as a bit of a racist just for asking questions? Who should they question about alien status? Do they measure just how “thick” the person’s accent is? Do they ask anyone without an ID their alien status? I know a lot of Canadians that have virtually no accent. So I guess they should just ask all of us about our alien status? The issue here is protecting those that are legal from being harassed simply because they were born in a different country and have not yet or never will learn to speak english without a thick accent or those that have a certain look – like these guys from Honduras and Nicaragua. Perhaps this dilemma is one of the main reasons that Congress wrote that law that requires special training for local officers if they want to play in this sandbox and perhaps that is why you don’t see Border Patrol agents at the entrance to Publix picking people to interrogate on alien status.

      1. Wow, Naja! Your questions are so voluminous, there is little room for me to respond! Do I sense some sort of plot a-brewin’? 😉

        I was not aware of the circumstances of this stop. I was merely speculating. In that light, I think you made your case. But, you’re the reporter…did you ask the cops about this?

        I am pleased that you didn’t detect any notable racism in these incidents. That said, you’ve stolen my exact argument WRT to racism: It’s a human condition, right or wrong.

        It’s funny you should mention Canada. I am permanently barred from entering Canada due to the fact that I have a DUI conviction on my driving record, dating back to 1986. I was NOT driving at the time…but I was summarily rejected at the border in 1997. No ifs, ands or buts. No, I can’t even legally deplane in Canada. There are rules everywhere…ignore them at your own risk.


        1. I did not detect any notable “racism” in the incident with the 17-year old – but I do not read minds. I don’t know why the police acted the way they did.

          But you said “incidents”. To be clear, I, like [millions?] of others, was shocked at the way Deputy Lariz responded to the injured Honduran man laying on the sidewalk – especially when I heard a few minutes later in the body cam footage [something I now realize we did not include in our video reporting] the way he addressed the woman who was driving the car. We did not simply have a grumpy cop treating everyone in a rude manner. In my opinion, he was overly aggressive with the Honduran and incredibly nice with the American woman. [VERY tenderly: “Are you O.Kaaaaay?”] That disparate behavior did indeed raise a red flag for me. Now, would he have behaved the same way with an immigrant [someone with limited english speaking skills] from any country in the world? Don’t know. But certainly we saw evidence of disparate treatment of immigrant v American. Not called racism perhaps but not “equal treatment” either.

  7. A few days ago, I was snoozing on a picnic table in Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, which I have done frequently since 2002 and never once been asked by a park ranger not to do it.

    I was awakened by a small brown-skinned Hispanic Fish & Wildlife officer and told I could not sleep on the table and I could not park my bicycle at the table but had to use the bike racks out by the road. He asked me if I had ID. I said, of course. I pulled out my wallet and handed him my driver’s license. He handed it to his very white Anglo F & W parter and asked him to run it (through their computer). After a while, the Anglo F $ W officer said it came back “54”, I think was the number. Meant nothing to me. My driver’s l was returned.

    I told them I had slept on picnic tables in the park since I imagine before they were F & W officers, and no park ranger had complained, and I would move my rubber mat to the ground and lay on it there. I told them the park rangers seldom enforced the bicysle rack rule, but I would take my bike to a rack. They said okay.

    I thanked them for being on the job and they thankied me and walked out onto the beach.

    The Hispanic officer had seemed wound really tight to me.

    I thought of the recent blue paper illegal immigrant articles..

    I wondered what would have happened if I had been Polish, or Czech, or Brazilian, and I was not able to produce a driver’s license or any ID? I figured I would be talking to Border Patrol shortly.

    I wondered if the F & W officers had a legal right to ask for my ID for sleeping on a picnic table or having my bicycle at the table?

    I figured that was not a good thing to challenge them on, in any event.

    I watched a Stephen Segal movie last night on Netflix. The storyline was Islamic terrorists were trying to strike a deal with a Mexican drug cartel to infiltrate Islamic terrorists and weapons, including suitcase nukes, into America. The terrorists wanted to the use the cartel because is was so good and getting people and drugs into America, and the same methods could be used to get terrorists and their weapons into America.

    That’s where I came into this discussion under the first blue paper illegal immigrant article.

    It is a fact that 9/11 changed Americans forever. Including American law enforcement, local, state, national. This is the elephant in the living room no one else I have seen in these three articles and reader discussion invites to the table. It as if 9/11 never happened.

    I agree with Dickford. The title to this article is inflammatory, and it was intended to be inflammatory. Perhaps it needed to be inflammatory.

    9/11 was far more inflammatory.

    This is not the America that was happy to receive the Frenchman Arnaud Girard, who still speaks American English with a heavy accent, which I find endearing This is not the America that was happy to received Naja Girard’s immigrant parents, who spoke English with a heavy accent until they left this life.

    This is an America in which most American citizens, including the liberals, are terrified of Islamic terrorists, whose “religion” is to kill Americans, and French people, and English people, and German people, and Russian people, etc., etc.

    People who come to America from elsewhere, and come illegally, or overstay their visas, or otherwise are not legal here, do so with their eyes wide open. Do so in a pervasive environment of simmering terror of foreign terrorists.

    In an environment also of many millions of American workers losing jobs to low paid immigrants and also to American companies relocating their manufacturing to Mexico, China, etc.

    This is not going to be resolved. It is going to become more acute. People living in America illegally, for whatever reason, are well advised to do all they can not to be accosted by law enforcement.

    Illegal aliens driving a car without a license are asking to be deported. Their employers have nothing to do with that.

    I don’t see a crackdown on illegal immigrants in Key West or the Florida Keys, because it would seriously damage the local economy.

    Even so, the way the blue paper has chosen to go about this issue is putting heat on Sheriff Ramsay, who is a Republican. There are more Republican voters than Democratic voters in the Keys. That’s how come Dennis Ward got to be State Attorney again. That’s how come Donald Trump carried the Florida Keys.

    Demanding a “clear policy” from Sheriff Ramsay could result in a mandate that his deputies call Border Patrol every time they had found someone they have reason to think might be an illegal alien. Border Patrol does not answer to the blue paper, to the local governments, to local law enforcement, to state law enforcement. Border Patrol answers ultimately to Congress and President Trump. Republicans. For now.

    1. I need to ponder this one: “This is an America in which most American citizens, including the liberals, are terrified of Islamic terrorists, whose “religion” is to kill Americans, and French people, and English people, and German people, and Russian people, etc., etc.”

      I will say this: I, Naja Girard, am not walking around “terrified of Islamic terrorists”. I am much more “terrified” of xenophobic Americans.

  8. Wow! You laid it out there, Sloan…clearly and succinctly.

    You are right. The prevailing sentiment in the U.S., like it or not, is exactly how you described it. Personally, I don’t like it…but, I am bound by it. As are all the rest of us.

    I am happy that Sheriff Ramsay has decided to remain above the fray, as I’ve previously stated. As you pointed out, he could well have decided on a policy that is more harsh than the current “non-policy”…which is, when you think about it, a policy of and by itself.

    Further, according to Florida law, your inability/refusal to submit proper ID when asked by an indentified LEO, could result in your detention…until acceptable documentation is submitted. No “probable cause” is necessary.

    Finally…I’m sure you know that parking your carcass on a picnic table is rude and socially unacceptable! 😉


    1. Dickford,

      I do not believe you are correct when you state,

      “Further, according to Florida law, your inability/refusal to submit proper ID when asked by an indentified LEO, could result in your detention…until acceptable documentation is submitted. No “probable cause” is necessary.”

      My reading of the law [see below] is that indeed the officer needs to justify the requirement for ID by a finding that there is a ‘reasonable indication’ that the ‘subject’ is involved in the violation of a CRIMINAL state or local statute or ordinance. [Note also, that it specifies state and local CRIMINAL law – CERTAINLY NOT FEDERAL CIVIL IMMIGRATION LAW.]

      In the case of the 17-year old passenger in a car parked too far from the sidewalk, what was the “reasonable indication” that a state or local crime was being or had been or was about to be committed? Why was it absolutely necessary for these officers to use this stop and frisk law to have the ID of this child ascertained beyond a doubt? Why wasn’t this child’s guardian telephoned rather than holding him there for an hour and half awaiting a federal immigration enforcement agency?

      And here it is:

      The 2016 Florida Statutes

      Title XLVII
      Chapter 901

      901.151 Stop and Frisk Law.—
      (1) This section may be known and cited as the “Florida Stop and Frisk Law.”
      (2) Whenever any law enforcement officer of this state encounters any person under circumstances which reasonably indicate that such person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a violation of the criminal laws of this state or the criminal ordinances of any municipality or county, the officer may temporarily detain such person for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of the person temporarily detained and the circumstances surrounding the person’s presence abroad which led the officer to believe that the person had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a criminal offense.
      (3) No person shall be temporarily detained under the provisions of subsection (2) longer than is reasonably necessary to effect the purposes of that subsection. Such temporary detention shall not extend beyond the place where it was first effected or the immediate vicinity thereof.
      (4) If at any time after the onset of the temporary detention authorized by subsection (2), probable cause for arrest of person shall appear, the person shall be arrested. If, after an inquiry into the circumstances which prompted the temporary detention, no probable cause for the arrest of the person shall appear, the person shall be released.
      (5) Whenever any law enforcement officer authorized to detain temporarily any person under the provisions of subsection (2) has probable cause to believe that any person whom the officer has temporarily detained, or is about to detain temporarily, is armed with a dangerous weapon and therefore offers a threat to the safety of the officer or any other person, the officer may search such person so temporarily detained only to the extent necessary to disclose, and for the purpose of disclosing, the presence of such weapon. If such a search discloses such a weapon or any evidence of a criminal offense it may be seized.
      (6) No evidence seized by a law enforcement officer in any search under this section shall be admissible against any person in any court of this state or political subdivision thereof unless the search which disclosed its existence was authorized by and conducted in compliance with the provisions of subsections (2)-(5).
      History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 69-73; s. 1459, ch. 97-102.

      1. Naja, you’re getting ahead of yourself again. I was speaking specifically about Sloan’s situation…to answer his “puzzlement” when he was asked for ID for “taking a snooze” on a picnic table. My reference to this law was directed solely to violation of local/state ordinances/rules/laws or what have you. I did not intend to include violation of any federal laws…vis-à-vis that young man. Sorry for the confusion.


        1. Ah, I see. Alright then. In Sloan’s case was there suspicion of a “crime”? Is there a criminal ordinance about snoozing on a picnic table at a State park situated in the City of Key West? Maybe Sloan knows…

          Found this which specifically excludes mere sleeping in public:

          City Code:
          Sec. 62-4. – No camping.
          Camp or camping means to pitch or occupy a tent or other temporary shelter for sleeping or other habitation purposes.
          Camp facilities means tarpaulins, costs, beds, sleeping bags, boxes or cartons, hammocks, make-shift shelters, cardboard, and portable stoves or other cooking paraphernalia.
          Motor vehicle means any self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway, but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped.
          Public place means the definition provided in section 1-2 of the Code of Ordinances. For purposes of this section, it also includes a beach within city limits.
          Safe zone means a public shelter provided for habitation by the city.
          Prohibited. No person shall camp in a public place in Key West. Camping may include the use of camp facilities. There [The] mere act of a person sleeping in a public place is not alone sufficient to constitute a violation of this section, unless there is indicia of camping, shelter or any barrier between an individual and the elements used for the purpose of sleeping or establishing a habitat. A written or verbal warning shall be issued for any first time offender of this section provided that compliance is achieved within a reasonable amount of time. Second or subsequent violations are subject to arrest pursuant to F.S. § 901.15.
          Personal property. In the event a person is arrested under this section, the arresting officer shall use best efforts to identify and preserve the personal property of the person.
          Penalty. A violation of this section shall be punishable in accordance with section 1-15 of the Code of Ordinances.
          (Ord. No. 04-13, § 1, 6-15-2004; Ord. No. 12-10, § 1, 6-5-2012)

          1. You’ve nailed it, with regard to the City Codes. No, Sloan was not “suspected” of any “crime”: He was caught dead in his tracks in the commission of an infraction…at least insofar as the City Code is concerned. I have no idea as to what the State Park Rules are.

            I think you’ll agree that Sloan was required to present current ID so that the officer could issue a proper citation, had he chosen to do so.

            I’m guessing here that the officer did have discretion as to how those rules are applied: Some officers are brusque while others are more forgiving. That’s life.


          2. I’m sorry. I must have missed something. What was the “infraction” – as in violation of code? The code I found specifically excludes mere sleeping without more – as in some attempt at sheltering oneself. I don’t believe Sloan described any make-shift shelter he had erected on his picnic table. [Not saying its “wonderful” for Sloan or anyone else to sleep on picnic tables but what code did he violate?

          3. Well, Dickford, perhaps you live in a different end of Key West from where I hang out.

            One night I was bedded down on the same rubber mat in the covered open air part of the fire station on Simonton Street. I was woken up by two KWPD officers. One explained the city camping ordinance to me.

            Said, my lying on the ground with anything between me and the ground was camping. I could lie on the bare concrete and not be camping, but using the mat I was camping. I said, well, when I sleep nights at the kWPD station on a bench in the front lobby, I lay on this here rubber mat. That’s different, the officer said. The bench is off the ground. So it’s not covered by the city’s camping ordinance.

            I didn’t feel up to totally pissing him off and saying, well, under the city’s camping ordinance, anyone lying on a towel on a beach is camping.

            I also told the officer that KWPD’s official spokesperson Alyson Crean (former Key West Bureau Chief of the Keynoter) had been quoted in the Key West Citizen as saying, on behalf of KWPD, and since she also is the city’s official spokesperson, in behalf of the city, that because Sloan is banned for life from KOTS, he can sleep in public places, such as the police station front lobby, on benches, etc.

            In fact, I have slept hundreds of times on picnic tables in Fort Zach State Park, and, in fact, never has a park ranger said anything to me about it.

            I am quiet. Don’t make a mess. Don’t parade around with my butt crack showing out of a bikini, or thong. Don’t pay loud music, or any music. Don’t sneak in beer, wine, whiskey. Carry out my trash. What little there is.

            I often feed the wild birds. Have had morning doves all over me, physically. On my head, shoulders, arms, legs, sitting in the palms of my hands – admittedly lured in by sunflower seeds. They loved me. Park rangers seem to like me. Loud-mouthed park visitors tend to not like me.

            Not long ago Ohio visitors, they said, were at the next picnic table over. One of the women was the kind who talks and laughs really loud, pretty much all the time. Hate to see an X ray of her psychology. When the outlaw homeless woman Kari Dangler asked the woman if she was going to keep yelling and laughing loud like that, the woman said yes she was, what you gonna do about it? They had lots of beer showing. Kari and I moved to a picnic table where we could not hear the Ohio rednecks. White trash would also describe them.

            That happens pretty often in the park, actually.

            Just the day before yesterday, a large brown-skinned man speaking English with a Spanish accent at a nearby picnic table went on a rant that could be heard by people out on the beach, He was with two anglo women. Every third or fourth word out of his mouth was fuck, fucking, fucker. He woke me up from a nap on a picnic bench, is how come I remember this so well.

            I would not bet money he remembered me hollering at him: this is a public park, families come in here with their children and you are hollering fuck every third or so word. How about turning down the volume. Continue your conversation, but quietly. Are you hard of hearing? Maybe he was. He did not turn down the volume. But I didn’t hear any more fucks.

            I packed up and left the park, wishing the same two Fish & Wildlife officers, especially the wound up really tight little Hispanic male officer, had been there for that. I would have loved to see how that little Hispanic officer dealt with one of his rude, obnoxious Hispanic “countrymen”.

            Another time I was in the park, a cruise ship was having a rock concert at the outer mole. The birds in the park were thrilled. So was I. People were leaving the park to get away from the clamor. Although it took me most of the day, I finally got city code enforcement, KWPD, and Navy MPs to gang up on that cruise ship and shut down the concert.

            I wrote an email the next day to the CEO of that cruise ship company, which was intended to cause him to think Key West is today’s version of Dodge City and there are people here would would love to see a cruise ship sunk in the channel and stop all cruise ships from coming to Key West. I called his office and left a message with his secretary for him to check out my website that day: goodmorningkewyest.com.

            At the next city commission meeting, a few nights later, I told that story during closing citizen comments. City Manager Jim Scholl came over and told me he was going to get that taken care of.

            I have not seen that particular cruise ship in Key West since, but maybe it snuck in when I was sleeping on a picnic table and did not see it arrive. 🙂

  9. Naja, if you’ll permit me (you always have)…let me present a mini-editorial on the subject.

    First, let me commend you on a fine, erudite presentation of the pertinent immigration enforcement laws…as far as it goes. Now, your task becomes eminently more difficult: Squaring those “laws” with the common reality we all face today. Upon further delving into that reality, you will find a mind-withering complement of laws/regulations/agreements/court decisions/edicts/policies and whatnot that not only run directly counter to your/my suppositions, but also contradict each other! Gee! Now what?

    Enter a common human trait: Discretion. That word looms large in our overall social scheme…and our overall philosophy: We use it many times daily. Discretion is also a vital tool in law enforcement -and- the courts. Whenever we attempt to curb that trait/right, we live to rue the day: Witness “determinate sentencing” and the infamous RICO Act (and it’s progeny) as two outstanding examples. And, so it is with your attempts to limit such with your studies/citations as ammunition.

    Your example involving Sergeant Lariz and the Argentine chef from El Siboney serve as great fodder in this discussion (with apologies to all mentioned). While you (or I)might be convinced that Sergeant Lariz lacked the “authority” to question the chef WRT his right to b in the U.S., that only applies to his duties as a sworn LEO: It doe NOT diminish his right as a citizen to ask the question. The chef had the EQUAL right to refuse to respond to his question. Based upon the response, Deputy Sergeant Lariz exercised his completely lawful discretion as to notifying the proper authorities. You cannot deny that. Sure! You can claim that he was responding in light of his (alleged) “political agenda”. But, he has as much right to his political agenda as you have to yours. See how this works?

    EXAMPLE: While walking my dog, I notice what I perceive to be an assault on another individual occurring across the street…surely you are not suggesting that I don’t have the right/responsibility to report same to the proper authorities? I retain the right of discretion: I can laugh it off, since those two always have a tussle -or- I can report it. My right to decide under the law.

    AFAIK, Sergeant Lariz is a respected member of the law enforcement community
    -and- a law-abiding, responsible member of this community. Doesn’t he deserve respect at least equal to that you’ve accorded this chef?

    Off further note: In spite of the fact that you tend to diminish the “crime” of lacking proper documentation to the status of “civil misdemeanor”…you must be aware of the fact that the lion’s share of deportees are deported for that reason alone! What does that tell you? In fact, the most “liberal” president we’ve had in a while (President Obama) has been properly identified as “deporter-in-chief” has overseen the greatest number of deportees in our history: DJT will have big toubles to keep up.

    Now…ya’ still wanna discuss “policy”? If so, you’ll have to re-focus your efforts in order to have any real effect. That has been my sole point all along.

    Thank you.


    1. I think you’ve made a great case for the need for a policy. And – as Commissioner Kaufman mentioned – at least some deputies are asking for policy. As far as that policy being something like this: MCSO deputies [in uniform, with guns, taser, etc.] may ask questions of citizens [as civilians] to forward some personal political agenda while they are on duty performing their official functions, paid for by taxpayers – well – does that also mean they could just walk around and stop people on the street for no other reason than to ask that same question, while on duty and in uniform [acting as civilians] and being paid by taxpayers?

    2. You wrote: “But, he has as much right to his political agenda as you have to yours. See how this works?”

      I do not believe that our government employees have “a right” to pursue their “personal political agenda” during business hours, if they are acting outside the scope of their authority when doing so. Are you saying to me that you would also condone our teachers in public schools questioning foreign born students or those who have parents who are foreign born about the legal alien status of themselves and their parents while they are teaching a class? See how this works?

      As to your example. What is it they say about “apples” and “oranges”? Your example is of a situation of “see something, say something.” I thought we had already established that what we are discussing is situations where we have deputies that are going beyond “seeing” something and sharing that information with the proper authorities… We both agree that there is nothing wrong with a deputy seeing something and reporting it to the proper authorities.

      YOUR EXAMPLE: “While walking my dog, I notice what I perceive to be an assault on another individual occurring across the street…surely you are not suggesting that I don’t have the right/responsibility to report same to the proper authorities? I retain the right of discretion: I can laugh it off, since those two always have a tussle -or- I can report it. My right to decide under the law.”

      1. Naja,

        RE: We both agree that there is nothing wrong with a deputy seeing something and reporting it to the proper authorities.

        Okay. What then are we arguing about? The deputy saw/sensed/suspected “something was wrong” and reported it to the proper authorities. His motivations are irrelevant.


          1. No, I can’t say that this applies to every incident you reported. And I didn’t. We were discussing specifically the incident involving the chef, were we not? But, to clarify, I think that my point is valid in all situations, to wit: If the officers’ actions are allowable (according to their superiors), then their motivations are irrelevant.

            Further, with regard to “political agendas”…everybody has one. Even most of the laws/regulations that LEOs are expected to enforce, are a result of a “political agenda”. Every person drawing breath has a political agenda. Any public policy is a result of a political agenda. We would be foolish to expect otherwise. That’s called reality…


          2. An officer’s actions are not validated because a superior said they were “allowable”. A supervisor who says, ‘do whatever you want’ doesn’t “validate” the actions of his subordinate based on that communication. The Constitution and the Courts interpreting it, ultimately, determine what is “valid” and what isn’t.

            We are talking about government actors here. Wouldn’t you say that the very old and well-regarded custom of providing clear “policies” for government actors exists because there is a need for such policies? And one of the reasons for giving government actors clear policy is precisely to ensure that they are acting on behalf of the government [the people] and not on behalf of some individual motivation? Not to mention that the government actor is protected from personal liability for his/her actions when he/she can point to a government policy rather than his/her own individual “beliefs” as motivation for his/her actions.

  10. Naja,

    RE: What code did he (Sloan) violate?

    Try this:

    Camp facilities means tarpaulins, cots, beds, sleeping bags, boxes or cartons, hammocks, make-shift shelters, cardboard, and portable stoves or other cooking paraphernalia.

    Remember…Sloan said he moved his mat to the ground. Further, discounting this admittedly minor infraction is not unlike saying that it is acceptable to use the side of a building as a urinal. Where do you draw the line? That’s what civil ordnances are designed to do.


    1. Ah yes. I see.

      But if I were his attorney [and I know I’m not…] I would argue that a ‘mat’ is not described in the definition. A ‘mat’ is not a cot, not a bed, not a sleeping bag, not a box or a carton, not a hammock, not a make-shift shelter, not a piece of cardboard, not a portable stove or other cooking paraphernalia.

      I guess the City needs to amend their code to add ‘mat’ in order “to get” poor Sloan for his criminal infraction! What if his ‘mat’ is more like a ‘towel’? Don’t see that there either… hmmmm…

      But we are getting away from the topic of this piece – Sloan has that effect. [Love ya Sloan!]

      1. Now. now, Naja and Dickford, you both know that I step back from a “narrow” drama and look at what is constellated around it. Usually, one of more elephants in the living room.

        I saw on TV news last night that the US Supreme Court ruled for President Trump’s immigration ban, for the most part, eradicating plenty of words written and spoken before that by different pundits and US appellate courts.

        Seems the Supreme Court thinks, rightly, that national security trumps wide open US borders to violent Muslim countries’ refugees.

        I can’t stand Trump, but on this issue, I think he is right. But I would go farther. I would ban all Muslims, including the King of Saudi Arabia and every last one of his blood relatives, not already US citizens, from entering America, for several connected reasons.

        A significant part of Islam is at war with America.

        Islam American has not led the charge to protest against and defeat radical islam.

        There is no reliable way to screen out radical Islam sleeper immigrants.

        Beyond that. Sorry, Naja. Using yourself to be the reason for your policy is getting in your way.

        You wrote to me earlier in this discussion:

        ~I need to ponder this one: “This is an America in which most American citizens, including the liberals, are terrified of Islamic terrorists, whose “religion” is to kill Americans, and French people, and English people, and German people, and Russian people, etc., etc.”

        ~I will say this: I, Naja Girard, am not walking around “terrified of Islamic terrorists”. I am much more “terrified” of xenophobic Americans.

        That’s the problem here, Naja. You are not even trying to put yourself into the shoes of how most Americans feel about illegal immigrants. Or how most Americans feel about 9/11 and foreign terrorists, more to the point.

        You keep talking like that’s not in play. In fact, radical Islam and Hispanic drug cartels are driving law enforcement in America.

        That bothering most Americans, if not on the tips of their tongues, then simmering in their deepest thoughts, concerns.

        If you got word today, Nana, that one of your children had just been blown up or machine-gunned on a street in another part of America, I bet you would be looking at this entire drama entirely differently.

        I still say you have way too big a charge about this to report and comment on it neutrally. People you know, some you respect, others not, probably, have told me you and Arnaud have messed up bad in the way you went about this topic.

        I hope you have not set into motion Sheriff Ramsay telling his deputies to report any suspected or actual illegal immigrant to Border Patrol. If that happens, will you and Arnaud publicly take responsibility for that result?

        If I were running the blue paper, I would be advising illegal immigrants in Key West and the Florida Keys to live smart. Don’t live like Americans live. They get caught at something, they don’t get deported. Don’t do things that can get you caught and talking to Border Patrol. Be better than Americans. Show them how people should live all the time. In America. Anywhere. Stop drinking. Stop drugging. Don’t drive without a license. Don’t hang out with people who are likely to get them in trouble. And get themselves to an immigration lawyer and become legal residents. Or Citizens. Like Arnaud Girard did. LIke your parents did, Naja.

        1. Dear Sloan,

          My opinion of the SCOTUS decision yesterday differs a bit from yours: It preserved the Constitutionality of the president’s unilateral authority to issue that Executive Order…and the authority of the responsible government agencies to carry out the order.

          The issue of “national security” is only tangential…and is expected to be debated during the next session. I believe that the SCOTUS is reverting to the “handling” of FDR’s EO issued during WWII, under which over 60,000 American CITIZENS of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned on the West Coast, as an example.

          Ultimately, the government issued a formal apology and distributed $1.6 billion in “reparations” (a pittance)…nearly four decades later.

          As for the rest of your post…I (mostly) agree. Naja keeps going back to “the Constitution” for strength. To which I say “which Constitution”. She also looks to “the courts” for solace…and the very same question applies: Which courts?

          Finally, she insists that a “political agenda” should not be evident in government business. A wag summed it up well:
          “All politics is local”. Yes, like it or not, she (and the rest of us) ARE paying people (including government employees), irrespective of their political agenda. All of the laws, including the Constitution itself, are the product of a political agenda. All government offices…at all levels, especially the courts and the legal system, are servants of a political agenda.

          Reality bites!


          1. My response, Dickford, addressed something Naja had commented days ago about me ignoring court opinions which had not yet been tested by the Sup. Ct. I imagine this is far from over up there in the stratosphere court. In time of war, things are different. That’s just how it is. Law enforcement in Key West and nationally has been wound tight since 9/11. That’s how it is. This is way beyond political. I hope this crusade does not result in Sheriff Ramsay telling his deputies to call Border Patrol about all suspected illegal immigrants. Who will file a federal lawsuit challenging that? Something you and I both heard plenty of in law school was predicting the outcome of litigation can be hazardous to lawyer’s health, welfare, happiness and pocketbooks. Gosh, while Naja is quoting law like there is not tomorrow, the US Supreme Court crashed the picture show.

            Excerpts from syndicated news article:


            WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is allowing President Donald Trump to forge ahead with a limited version of his ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to the U.S. Trump hailed the decision as a “victory for national security,” but it’s likely to set off a new round of court disputes over anti-terror efforts and religious discrimination.

            The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation and pointed rebukes from lower courts saying the administration is targeting Muslims. Until then, the court said Monday, Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

            The ruling sets up a potential clash between the government and opponents of the ban over the strength of visitors’ ties to the United States. A senior official said plans already had been written to enforce the ban aggressively. But immigrant groups said relatively few people try to enter the United States without well-established ties. Those groups said they will be sending lawyers and monitors back to American airports, where the initial, immediate implementation of the ban in January caused chaos and confusion.

            State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the ban would be implemented starting 72 hours after being cleared by courts. That means it will take effect Thursday morning.

        2. Sloan,

          RE: A significant part of Islam is at war with America.

          Poppycock! That’s all I can muster on that assertion. That’s more than enough…[sigh]


  11. Naja, we’re not talking about the Constitution or the courts in any of the incidents you’ve publicized, are we? Of course, the courts have the ultimate say…should any of these cases get that far. But, even in the courts, political agendas and discretion are both integral factors in any proceedings. You cannot deny that fact.

    As for “clear policies”? Well…when you run across one of those rare gems, please let us know, eh?

    Yes, I am being cynical.

    As for Sloan and his “mat”, I guess you haven’t given much attention to his adventures WRT sleeping in the KWPD’s parlor: That “mat” is his bed…

    Semantically yours, 😉


    1. You and I make a great pair, Dickford. You, a lawyer, selling newspapers on US 1/Stock Island just above Key West. Me, a former practicing attorney sleeping nights in the police station at night, gathering morsels for my love and light touchy feel good politically correct we are all one human family mother may I are terminal spiritual diseases blog when I’m awake.

      Back when I practiced law in Birmingham, I sometimes had the romantic notion of being a street lawyer. Little did I imagine how that be careful what you wonder for might turn out.

      If my sleeping on a picnic table grossed you out in this ocean of far worse filth, then you are as anal retentive as that bantam rooster Hispanic Fish & Wildlife officer who told me I could not sleep on the picnic table. The rubber yoga mat had nothing to do with it. He would have gotten onto me if I had been sleeping on the bare wood table top, which is mostly how it goes. It just so happened I had the rubber mat with me on that day.

      I wonder when I read what all you write holding forth in legal scholar fashion, if you should be practicing law? I wonder why you are not practicing law? I quit because practicing law was killing me, and I was not making a living at it. Not news. I published that many times at my politically incorrect blog.

      When you told me the lady who filed notice of suing me for libel was not going to actually do it, I thought perhaps you were not walking with both, or either, of your feet in reality. She already had sued me. That was why I got the notice from the Florida e-filing portal. I just had not yet been served with the glad tidings.

      For the longest time, I was the only journalist around who covered her suing me, Naja, Rick Boettger and the owner/publisher of bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph. As far as I know, only the Key West Citizen also covered those lawsuits late in the game. You ran for cover. Wanted me to stop publishing what you wrote to me about it. A lawsuit attacking the First Amendment. Which is how Naja won the lawsuit against her. The First Amendment permitted her to state her opinion of the plaintiff, no matter how awful that opinion was.

      Why don’t you submit an article to the blue paper telling its readers about yourself, how you became a lawyer, and how that went?


      1. Dear Sloan,

        When you go on a tear, you certainly know how to do it!

        Here is my feeble attempt to answer at least some of your questions:

        1.) “I wonder why you aren’t practicing law”. Embarrassingly simple answer: I got old and tired.
        2.) “If I grossed you out…” You did. Let me spell it out for you: I simply do not care to see YOUR anus on MY dining table…mat or no mat.
        3.) “You ran for cover…” Damned right! Wasn’t my battle. Further, to clarify, my messages to you were “private”…a status that you violated. And, no…I did NOT declare that your encounter with your “friend from Alabama” wouldn’t wind up in court. Instead, based upon what little I knew at the time, that that was unlikely. Silly me, huh?
        4.) As for “being the only journalist”? Big deal. Who cares? I chose to let you fight for your “First Amendment” rights by your own devices…which is what you did. And, you got the result you deserved…



        1. Welcome to the old and worn out lawyers club, then.

          You would sit your ass where I had sat my ass, covered by my pants and under shorts, on the picnic table seat?

          A friend offered to buy me a folding lounge chair to take to the park. I went to K-Mart last night. K-Mart lounge chairs much too bulky to tote on a bicycle, but I did find a nylon?travel hammock which compresses into at tote bag about the size of 2 softballs. Will give that a try out perhaps later today. I see hammocks hung between trees in the park fairly often.

          The little Hispanic Fish & Wildlife officer’s stated objection was I was using a picnic table to sleep, when someone else could have been using it to eat. There were vacant picnic tables nearby. He was wound up tight before he met me. Part of his make up.

          You declared your emails to me were private after I had been publishing your emails for some time without any objection from you. I did not agree your emails were henceforth private,and you kept sending me emails and I published one of them. Perhaps two. Don’t recall.

          I can’t find any of our emails from back then. I tend to delete emails pretty quick. Or I did back then.

          You flat out told me it was your opinion there was nothing to it, she was just making noise. If you save your emails, go back and find yours to me. I’d like to see it.

          Actually, her lawsuit was everyone’s concern, given she attacked the 1st Amendment, which is how Naja won the lawsuit the plaintiff filed against her.

          Without the 1st Amendment the blue paper would not exist. You and I never would have interacted online. President Trump would not be tweeting. He would not have finally pissed off a lot of Republicans, apparently, just recently.

          1. Sloan, this particular thread is NOT about you. Get over it, eh?


        2. The judge dismissed all the pleadings in the lawsuit against me, effectively dismissing the lawsuit. The plaintiff can refile.

          After she sued me, you emailed me that I had not done anything wrong, she should not have sued me.

          Sure do wish now I had saved your emails.

          I sure did save the plaintiff’s, and her Facebook messages to me, which really upset her when I published all of it, after I told her I would do that, if she broke her agreement with me and sicced the police on me because I did not cave.

          1. Sloan, unlike you I HAVE saved all those emails. And, yes…I said basically what you remember. So what? That’s no excuse for not paying my bill! 😉

            Frankly, I’m surprised by Judge Helms’s diligence and patience with this silliness: Most judges would have canned this stupidity long before she did.

            I’m both amused and alarmed that you hold yourself out as deserving of some special protection as a “journalist” under the First Amendment.

            Further, your claim that you achieved a result comparable to that which was attained by the BP is equally ridiculous. Let’s see if you can figure out why.


          2. Sloan, no need to have “saved your emails”. I said what you claim I said…and I meant every word. What don’t you understand?

            Your outcome differs substantially from that of the BluePaper. The case against the BP was dismissed WITH PREJUDICE…meaning simply that your Alabammy friend cannot pursue that course again.

            By contrast, your case was dismissed WITHOUT prejudice…meaning that she could conceivably refile her silly case again. And…that you could refile the same responses. In any sandbox you both choose.to play in. I pray that it isn’t Monroe County.

            No, I can’t say that you “did anything wrong”. But, you did precious little right. Obviously, you can’t see it…but others can. The bottom line here is that the judge did not see any merit to ANY of the claims made by either one of you. Stalemate at best…


  12. To Dickford and Sloan,

    1. It remains perplexing to me that you are both [sort of] “fighting” the legitimacy of our reporting on this subject and the concept of our Sheriff guiding his officers on the subject of local enforcement of immigration law.

    As to my take – since Sloan thinks its all about my motives: There is nothing wrong with enforcing immigration law as long as it is done within the confines of a fair and constitutionally valid policy/method and as long as those enforcing it are properly trained and are empowered to do so. I say, bring on the policy – whatever it may be. Once it exists then it can be examined.

    2. Dickford, Yes, of course, this is about civil rights. When looking at specific police action any questions that come up are usually somehow or other about civil rights. Some of these cases show people being detained for prolonged periods of time. Three of those people were not “illegal aliens” when that occurred and they were not detained because of any other criminal activity. That raises issues of civil rights. Perhaps those rights were properly respected, perhaps not. We have brought you the fact that this incident occurred and it left a 17-year old and his family with the belief that they were targeted because of their ethnicity. This kid believes we are all “Racistas!” Right or wrong — That is a fact. It may be an amusing exercise for us to go back and forth over whether there are legal issues or not and what they are; but it is not so amusing for those three immigrants, and not so amusing for the immigrant community in general not to know whether they are going to also be subject to these prolonged roadside fishing expeditions based on how thick their accent is, and also not so amusing [from what I hear from the family who was on scene] for the Border Patrol agents.

    3. Which Constitution you ask? There is only one official US Constitution that I know of – along with the Amendments to it that make up The Bill of Rights. All legislation must conform to those basic rights. Government must use SCOTUS’ interpretations of what does and what doesn’t violate those rights to guide legislators and government agents in their use of police powers. When SCOTUS has not spoken on an issue then government does its best to follow the opinion of the lower Courts in its jurisdiction and if there is no opinion to be found on the subject then government must use it own reasonable interpretation – always using the Bill of Rights to guide them when it comes to police action. You know all this. This is why you studied law, I presume, because you have [or had] some respect for the system that exists and how important it is for all of us to have those rights and those judicial system safeguards in place to protect us. Scoffing it all off as useless – well that’s somewhere I’m not willing to go.

    4. As to how ‘everything is political’ being the answer to anything. Yes indeed – everyone has their own little agenda. But that is precisely why laws and policies are written and are needed – to ensure that one individual person to whom we have given police power is not going to be able to go off on his own little crusade. It is important that our law enforcement personnel act in a concerted manner, in a transparent manner and that someone, a final policymaker, will ultimately be able to answer to individuals and to the public as to the actions of his subordinates. Subordinates who – hopefully – will have been properly educated and guided. I will repeat for emphasis: Sheriff’s Deputies have reached out to Commissioner Kaufman thanking him for pushing this issue and stating that they would like to be better informed on the topic of local law enforcement of immigration law.

    5. In the realm of immigration enforcement there is a very specific body of federal law found in the US Code. I have provided the text of some of it here in the comments section. Local governments should [in my humble opinion] know what it says and should guide its employees in understanding what it says about federal v. local police power to act if local government is giving its officers a green light to meddle in that area of law enforcement. No, these incidents have not been limited to “see something, say something.”

    6. Sloan’s insistence that the focus of discussion of The Blue Paper coverage of immigration law enforcement in our own little town should be the psychoanalyzing of the reporters who exposed it – in my view – serves no useful purpose whatsoever. The reporters are not writing “editorials” telling the Sheriff what his policy should be. The reporters are showing the community what is happening on the streets. Our City Commissioners just weeks ago met and discussed this very issue and at least 3 or 4 of them, at the time, believed that “This is not happening. We don’t have an issue. No officers are asking people about their immigration status anyway so why should we have this “don’t ask” policy?” That is what they said. Well, when our first story was published about a week later – it became apparent that it is indeed happening. Think of it what you will – but now no one can simply say ‘it is not happening’. The Blue Paper is not strategizing – playing some chess game – in an attempt to influence the Sheriff’s policy. Any such policy should be carefully crafted, after consultation with attorneys who have analyzed all of the laws and jurisprudence available. Whatever it is it must be in accordance with law.

    7. Dickford, Simply saying it is impossible to write “clear policies” so don’t bother and thus the better way to go is to have a “no policy” policy and give a wink of an eye and a thumbs up with no guidelines [the status quo] – even when deputies themselves are asking to be educated and guided on the topic – is non-sensical – in my opinion. Shall we just not have our government write any laws at all, then? Discard all laws and written policies guiding the people and those with power because they can’t possibly be perfectly written and because we know we might [and often do] end up with some ambiguity? That’s just silly.

    8. Sloan, we are covering immigration stories that are LOCAL. We live in the Keys. I speak to many people. No one EVER tells me they are “terrified” of our local immigrant population because they might be “islamic terrorists” so I do not see that as the most important element in covering what is happening LOCALLY with immigration enforcement by LOCAL sheriff’s deputies who are acting under color of law based on their own “political views” vs. a Key West policy of “don’t ask”.

    In sum. I think you are both protesting way too much about our simple coverage showing you and other readers what is happening in our little town in terms of immigration enforcement.

    What have we found out about what is happening?

    These are the observations stemming from the public records provided by the MCSO.

    A. One deputy chose to callously ask an injured immigrant laying on the ground just after being in an accident with a truck, whether or not he was “illegal” before even asking about his medical needs.

    B. The same deputy asked a Chef [in the City of Key West shortly after it adopted its “don’t ask” policy] about his legal status during a routine traffic stop and gave him a lecture about it before calling Border Patrol. The Chef is accused of violating a civil section of the immigration code. We saw that in that case the Deputy was entirely uninterested in the same set of code when it came to the employer of that allegedly undocumented immigrant. He did not report the employer to Border Patrol when he made the phone call.

    C. Another set of Sheriff’s deputies held a group of three LEGAL immigrants [one a minor] for about 1.5 hours to await Border Patrol to “make sure” they weren’t illegal. The minor’s parents were not called to the scene immediately by the deputies. They were [finally] released after Border Patrol came to the scene.

    D. A local employer insisted that an allegedly undocumented immigrant worker drive the company van without a driver’s license [making any accident uninsured under most insurance policies] despite the immigrant having protested – because he knew he was not allowed by law to drive that van. The deputy arrested the immigrant but did not pursue investigation or arrest of the employer. [It is a second degree misdemeanor to knowingly allow someone to drive your car without a license.]

    We don’t need to “throw away” the Constitution as non-existent, nor discard as futile the idea of “clear policy” nor probe the inner workings of the reporters’ mind. How about we just take in what has been observed and attempt to better understand the laws that apply to these situations?

    1. Naja, perhaps I should take a different tack.

      You are not in charge of this situation. You never will be in charge. If you bring a federal lawsuit, you still won’t be in charge, a judge then will be in charge. And even that judge might end up not being charge, because there are levels of federal appeals, as we are seeing recently.

      I hope you have not pushed Rick Ramsay to order his deputies to call in Border Patrol everything they suspect they have found an illegal alien.

      1. Of course I am not “in charge of this situation”. What sort of a remark is that? My understanding [from speaking with family who was at the scene when the three LEGAL aliens, including a minor, were detained to await Border Patrol] is that Border Patrol was not too thrilled about being called to travel 1.5 hours to satisfy the curiosity of the two deputies who had summoned them – needlessly – to the scene. Unfortunately, with a bodycam video described as evidence in the incident report somehow turning out to “not exist” – we may never know exactly what that interaction between the two agency representatives looked like. Look Sloan, many Americans are crying out: “The law is the law!” Yes it is. Part of “the law” is called civil rights law. Part of the law is the federal code that spells out when and how local law enforcement can intervene in matters of immigration law. If Sheriff Ramsay wants to issue an order directing his deputies to call Border Patrol every time they come into contact with someone who speaks English with an accent – to alert Border Patrol that another “foreigner” is present in the Keys – so be it. I have an idea as to where that could lead considering just how many foreign born residents live in the Keys – especially in Key West and Stock Island. There simply is no justification [in my mind] for an argument against educating and guiding Sheriff’s deputies in this realm – especially since some of those deputies are ASKING FOR guidance. This “discretion” policy could stand, educating and guiding deputies as to the applicable law does not preclude a “discretion” policy per se. It’s pretty simple if we want to remain in good faith: We have immigration laws. Enforcing them needs to be done in an honest straightforward and transparent manner pursuant to existing LAWS. Local law enforcement agencies may not discriminate – if they do they are jeopardizing their federal funding. If the policy is ‘do whatever you want’ in the realm of immigration law enforcement, an area of law that necessarily triggers grave concerns over discrimination on the basis of race and/or national origin, then there should, without question, be some education and guidelines for local law enforcement personnel as well as reporting and tracking requirements to ensure there is no impermissible discrimination occurring. The Supreme Court is not looking into the issues we are talking about here. This has nothing to do with the ultimate decision on a ban on allowing persons from certain muslim majority countries that have no pre-existing ties to the US to visit here.

        1. Naja, back a ways in time, in your living room, after you had published the article about the illegal immigrant Hispanic bicyclist being struck in a pedestrian crossing, you and Arnaud asked me what was my take on what was really going on? I said it dated back to 9/11. From that date, law enforcement was wound tight in Key West, which every homeless person knew. My position has not changed since I told you two that.

          Although many Americans believe 9/11 was an inside job, because there were far too many suspicious facts and unanswered questions, the general view in America is 9/11 was a Muslim terrorist attack.

          That is what every illegal alien, of any skin color or ethnic origin, is up against in America. It just happens that most illegal aliens, probably by a large percentage, are Hispanic.

          The Hispanic Siboney chef, in my opinion, was asking to be deported, by deriving a car without a driver’s license, And, I suppose, without insurance?

          Any illegal Hispanic in America has to know that an arrest or stop for anything likely will result in immigration problems.

          Whether you agree with me or not, you have a huge charge about these three cases. You wrote to me somewhere in all of this, if your immigrant parents, who became American citizens but spoke English poorly until they died, were alive today, you would not want them to be “profiled” by law enforcement as potential illegal aliens.

          Well, they just might have that experience if they were alive today. Arnaud might have that experience if he were to drive to Orlando, or Georgia, and get caught speeding. But he would not have a problem if had his Florida driver’s licence. Even better, his naturalization papers.

          Beyond all of that, your tone throughout all this discussion is polemic in my opinion. As if you have personally identified with the “victims”. Ai if, what happened to them was done to you. As if you must protest to save yourself.

          In AA, NA and ALANON circles, that is called “the rescue syndrome”. Recovering addicts are frequently cautioned by old timers in AA, NA, ALANON, and by addiction counselors to be careful not to get caught in the rescue syndrome. To instead, keep doing the 12 Steps, one of which is to keep doing a fearless and searching personal inventory of oneself.

          This might irk you even more than what you just read. However, it looks to me you are screaming for help. To be saved, rescued. But from what?

          Beyond that, I wonder if deep down inside you wish you had finished college and gone to law school and were practicing law today?

          You are really smart. You impressed me in your pleadings in the lawsuit the nice lady filed against you.

          Perhaps you should toss or sell or give away the blue paper, which is wearing you out in lots of ways, including you and Arnaud not being financially supported by what I imagine are thousands of devoted blue paper readers.

          Perhaps you should go to law school, pass the state bar and practice immigration and civil rights law.

          EVen when I practiced law the “normal” way, I often sized up my clients. Psychoanalyzed them. Tried to understand what made them tick. What was really driving them. And, how honest they were. About what they came to see me about. About themselves.

          After hearing what they had to say. I talked with the other side’s lawyer, to hear what he/she had to say. I talked with the witnesses. And even then, I didn’t always get to the bottom of what really had happened. Sometimes that waited to some out in court, when it was too late to deal with effectively.

          I imagine every lawyer I ever knew, including government and in house corporate lawyers, went at it and experienced much the same.

  13. Naja, you are to be commended for your usual articulate, well-framed response. Well done! However, I must take exception to your characterization of my responses…and yes, even Sloan’s: Neither of us ever questioned the “legitimacy” of your extensive reportage. Instead, we merely pointed to the fact that your reportage is largely your opinion. That is certainly your right…after all, this is YOUR newspaper. And, you graciously allow dissenters to voice their opinions, as well. Again, commendable.

    That said, your work product is your opinion, which does not (and should not) carry more weight than the opinion(s) of others. In fact, you’ve liberally mixed your “little agenda” with your interpretations of the facts in these cases. We all do it…nothing to be alarmed about. You point to Sam Kaufman (an elected politician) and his experience with some MCSO deputies. Those deputies are merely voicing opinions that Mr. Kaufman is responding to. Their absolute right. But, Mr. Kaufman has NO control over Sheriff Ramsay (another elected politician) in the exercise of his responsibilities. In turn, Sheriff Ramsay has NO control over the actions of federal officials (like the DoJ)…either elected or political appointees…who can and DO dictate “policy”, under the direction of the current administration. Don’t like that? Take it up with the SCOTUS…not the Sheriff.

    You tend to dismiss my question vis-à-vis “which Constitution” as being frivolous. Don’t. I’m deadly serious. If you’re referring to the Constitution as originally ratified in 1787, please…go back and re-read it as well as the history of that document. You will discover that it was the product of intense political wrangling…wrought almost entirely for the benefit of the landed gentry, the intelligentsia and the oligarchs of the day. They clearly intended to secure their position(s) as leaders of the ruling class…which did NOT include the hoi-polloi (you and me). The common citizen was little more than cannon fodder. Women and children were mainly chattels. Slavery was formally institutionalized: People of color were mostly relegated to the status of sub-humans. Indentured servitude was the order of the day (ask Ben Franklin). The “indian” was basically banished from “white Christian” society…as being some sort of heathen or leper…a foreigner in his own land. Surely, you do NOT mean THAT Constitution?

    Then, you point to the first ten Amendments to the Constitution (aka The Bill of Rights)…which was in fact borrowed from the Magna Carta, approved by the King of England in 1215. Remember that…the Bill of Rights was ratified four years AFTER the Constitution and NEVER raised it’s head for nearly 180 years after that, in practical terms or in jurisprudence: It was instead routinely ignored by the SCOTUS.
    We fought a bloody conflict over slavery…which wound up being only selectively “abolished” in the end: It took nearly 100 years since that “war”…to formalize the parity of “black people” with others in this country. Yet, it is.a battle that is still being fought, tooth and nail. to this day. Womens’ suffrage became a reality in the 1920s…yet, they still have not achieved parity with men in our society. “Civil Rights” became a reality (briefly) in the 1960s and 1970s…only to be chipped away, bit by bit in subsequent years. Children still do not have “civil rights” to speak of…though we CAN try them as “adults” for certain crimes. Finally, just yesterday, our revered SCOTUS saw fit to vote unanimously to override the opinions of lower court rulings. Yes, dear Naja…it’s ALL politics. So…I’ll ask once again: Which Constitution? Which court? Which interpretations of the laws? All of these institutions are moving targets…not one of them is static. The only “hard and fast rule” that applies here is: There are no hard and fast rules. You can take that to the bank…


    1. Yes. Absolutely every law can be rewritten or repealed and every piece of jurisprudence can be superseded at some point in the future. I fail to see the point, however. There is no option, if the goal is to respect our laws, to legally disregard current legislation or the highest binding opinion simply because some day those laws or that opinion will no longer rule the day or because some government agent or some lower court has opted to misconstrue them. Our current laws and jurisprudence govern and they may not legally be ignored. Yes, it is a difficult task to properly understand and apply the law and the jurisprudence, and to properly educate and train those with power, but that is not a reason to not even try to do so. Leaving law enforcement agents with “unbridled discretion” in a domain where impermissible discrimination is to be expected is not and has never been the answer. As to which interpretations I am referring to: the interpretations of the highest court that has jurisdiction over the matter is the law of the land. In many instances the matter of immigration law and civil rights law has reached the level of SCOTUS.

  14. If a cop has reason to believe they have an illegal then I fully support them in taking whatever it takes to deport them.That is part of their job and will clean up KW of low wage workers. This is a step in raising wages.

  15. Just wanted to reply to the Canada blocking Dickford’s entry thing. For those that might not know, Canada has access to the US FBI NCIC (National Crime Information Database). No idea what specific things will get you an entry refusal.

    1. Quite true, Dan. But, I sincerely doubt that a DUI would ever appear in the NCIC database.

      In my case, I responded truthfully to the question. Period. That’s when I was apprised of the law in Canada. Had I chosen to lie, if I were subsequently found out while in Canada, I would have been instantly incarcerated until deportation proceedings were completed.


  16. Jim, while I agree (mostly) with your sentiments, surely you must realize that such actions would have little impact on wages. The labor market in the Keys (most notably Key West) is amply served by “contractors” who provide “low wage labor” by “importing” same, primarily from “Eastern Europe”. The big difference lies in the fact that this labor force IS LEGALLY DOCUMENTED (again, for the most part) as to the legitimacy of their residence here. While I do believe that this is an abuse of the system…at present, it remains a legal loophole.

    What our gracious Editor seems to forget is that ALL citizens of this country MUST provide VALID ID for literally every legal purpose here…INCLUDING employment. Do CITIZENS not have the right to EXPECT the same of ANY resident here? If not, why not?


    1. Without doing an actual investigation I would not ASSUME that the Eastern European workers are “LEGALLY DOCUMENTED”. The Central Americans ALSO work for those “contractors”.

      1. Please note, Naja…I made no assumptions. I qualified what I said by including the word “mostly”. We’re all aware that abuses occur in that business.

        The “contractor” lines up the work and then seeks “cheap labor”, primarily from overseas. C’mon! I’m not telling you something that you don’t already know. It’s a very common practice in Key West…as it is all across the nation, particularly in the “hospitality industry”. Where do you think most “nannies” come from? Most “housekeepers”/”house boys”?

        If “Central Americans” are properly represented by these “contractors”, they should have no worries with regard to “deportation”…unless they commit a crime: Driving without a license is a crime, although it is typical for first-time offenders to be merely cited.


        1. Hi Dickford, Sorry I was a bit unclear. We shouldn’t assume that because ANY of foreign worker from ANY country is working for a “contractor” that they are necessarily here “legally” nor that they have legal “work authorization.” They may be documented and have work authorization but then again they may not be.

          1. Naja, I couldn’t agree more! The “shorthand” necessary in this format precluded my using my usual, long-winded reply.

            What I should have done is copy RRRs ole saw: Trust, but verify. The ONLY way a resident has LEGAL status here is if they can present valid ID. For foreign workers, that can run the gamut from passport, visa, “green card”, work permit…even driver license/state ID, etc. That applies to ALL residents here, including bona fide citizens. The people who cannot produce officially-recognized ID upon request should not be surprised if they are subjected to further investigation by the proper authorities…subject to the discretion of the LEO.

            That cardinal rule was applied in ALL of the examples you reported on. That was my only point.

            Thanks again for your graciousness.


    2. That is exactly the only way to clean up K.W.
      .Carry I D and if your legal is maybe going to hold you up 5 minutes.
      I will and have been checked even when not required to produce it. It lets the cop know you are safe and not wanted. Makes the cops job easy and safe.
      If that removes illegals then we are winning

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