Trump’s welcome stand on illegal immigration | Guy W. Farmer commentary | NevadaAppeal.com

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Trump’s welcome stand on illegal immigration | Guy W. Farmer commentary

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to enforce our nation's immigration laws, and that's bad news for illegal immigration advocates in so-called "sanctuary" cities, some churches and on college campuses throughout the nation. The illegal immigration lobby is already complaining and whining about immigration law enforcement even before our new president takes office.

In a "60 Minutes" interview earlier this month Trump said he would focus on deporting criminal illegals among more than 11 million immigrants living here illegally, which makes sense from a practical standpoint. The Trump administration will target criminal illegals living in so-called "sanctuary" cities like Chicago and San Francisco and may cut off federal funds to cities that fail or refuse to cooperate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a move that's long overdue.

"Local laws in some places bar cooperation with immigration authorities," the Associated Press noted, but Trump has promised to deport people who have criminal records, including gang members and drug dealers. "We're getting them out of our country," he said. "They're here illegally." U.S. Border Patrol agents, whose hands have been tied by President Obama's executive orders soft-pedaling immigration law enforcement, applauded Trump's hard-line approach to illegal immigration. Me too!

During the 2016 presidential election campaign the National Border Patrol Council, which represents more than 16,500 enforcement agents, broke precedent to endorse Trump over his chief rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Mr. Trump will take on special interests and embrace the ideas of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents rather than listening to management yes-men who say whatever they are programmed to say," the Council said in its endorsement statement. In other words, Trump will drain the border enforcement swamp.

I wrote a column early this year about a front-page article in the Reno Gazette-Journal that seemed to encourage illegal immigration. The RGJ reported in January "the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Reno became the first church in the state to provide physical sanctuary to an undocumented (i.e. illegal) immigrant," 33-year-old Jose Gastelum-Cardenas of Sonora, Mexico, who speaks "little English" despite living here for more than 10 years.

The Rev. Neal Anderson of the Unitarian Church said he considers U.S. immigration laws to be "immoral," so he offered asylum to Gastelum and his family. But the "hero" of this story was deported twice after he snuck into the U.S. illegally in 2006. Federal authorities issued a third deportation order when Gastelum was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in 2012. It's still pending.

This is the kind of criminal alien who should be targeted by federal immigration authorities. He's a drunk driver who makes no positive contribution to this country and has no right to be here. No excuses. Deport him! And following Rev. Anderson's reasoning, I won't pay my federal income taxes next year because I consider taxes to be immoral. Just kidding, IRS, so don't send a SWAT team to my house.

Bottom line: President-elect Trump, his attorney general and the Border Patrol will enforce our nation's immigration laws. It's about time.

Federal Lands

Kudos to Congressman Mark Amodei, a Carson City Republican who has introduced a bill to transfer millions of acres of federal land to the state of Nevada. The first phase of Amodei's "Honor the Enabling Act of 1864" bill would transfer 7.2 million acres of land to the state, thereby reducing federal control of Nevada lands from more than 85 percent down to 75 percent, which is still too high.

Amodei's bill calls for federal agencies like the BLM to transfer "non-exempt" lands — excluding national parks or forests, of course — to state and local governments "upon request." You go, Mark!

Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.