You got enchilada in my Kung Pao chicken
The former owner of a now defunct Chinese buffet in Knoxville has been sentenced to one year in federal prison for knowingly employing a staff of illegal Mexican immigrants at his establishment.
I'm torn about what to think about this, upon first glance.
Part of me thinks that it's certainly a reasonable response to a violation of existing law. Then, I look at the defense strategy, which was likely the only real thing that the attorney could have argued in such a case.
"Everyone else does it, and the government doesn't do anything about it. What's the big damn deal?"
Certainly, I feel as though our immigration laws aren't being enforced to the degree necessary and our borders aren't adequately protected from the influx of illegal immigrants. While I don't feel a need to stem the tide of immigration to our country, I do believe that it is important to require/demand that our policies on immigration be followed.
However, a law not enforced is essentially a nullity. It's similar in theory to real estate law, and the adverse possession of someone else's land. If you build a fence over someone else's land, and they do nothing to remedy the situation within X number of years, then it's no longer their land, it's yours.
With our immigration laws, it would seem that a similar logic should apply. When does the government have an affirmative obligation to start enforcing the laws on its books consistently in every such case? When do (or should) they lose the right to do so if they fail to enforce those same laws?
How do you arbitrarily pick this particular guy to prosecute when there are hundreds or thousands of others out there doing the same thing?
I'm really torn about how to feel about this case, and would like to see what you all think.