Video: Sanctuary for illegal aliens

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updated 3/27/2006 11:48:44 AM ET 2006-03-27T16:48:44

Maywood, California is a small community just south of Los Angeles.  More than a third of Maywood's population lives in the U.S. illegally.

When a local traffic division was accused of giving too many tickets to illegal aliens, the city council simply eliminated the traffic division.  The same with drunk driving checkpoints and other law enforcement practices.  As a result, some are calling Maywood a sanctuary city, a place where it’s not illegal to be illegal. 

The city's vice mayor, Felipe Aguirre, joined Tucker Carlson to explain what is going on in Maywood.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, "THE SITUATION": It sounds very much like your city is allowing and condoning lawlessness.  How can a city allow people to break the law?  What’s the point of having a city, if you allow that?

FELIPE AGUIRRE, VICE MAYOR OF MAYWOOD:  We’re not letting anybody break the law.  And we’re asking the police officers to arrest people that do break the law.  But there was an excessive impounding of vehicles and taking of people’s private property.  That’s what the new city council is supposed to do.  That's why we stopped this practice that was happening in our city. 

CARLSON:  Well, according to the “Los Angeles Times”, the city of Maywood no longer conducts DUI stops, DUI road blocks?  Is that true?

AGUIRRE:  That’s not true.  The Maywood Police Department will conduct any type of stop for legal and lawful reason.  What was happening before in the city was that 90 cars were being stopped eachnight.  People were taking away their vehicles. 

CARLSON:  Why were they having their vehicles taken away?

AGUIRRE:  People were driving without a driver’s license. 

CARLSON:  But you’re not allowed to drive without a driver’s license, are you?

AGUIRRE:  Yes.  You’re not allowed to drive without a driver’s license, but also, the city did not have to impose the punishment of keeping the car for 30 days, which was an additional punishment of people having to spend an extra amount of money to take their vehicles out. 

CARLSON:  Everybody else in the state of California and every other state I’m aware of has to have a driver’s license to drive, and if you don’t have one, they punish you.  In a lot of places, they take your car away.  Why would Maywood be different?

AGUIRRE:  You have to know the city of Maywood.  It’s a little bit different from other cities.  We consider this a personal taking of a person’s personal property.  Therefore, the city council took this move so that people would not be intimidated. 

Before, we were happy; it was driving while brown.  People were getting stopped because they looked Latino and spoke Spanish.  This is the thing that we were opposed to.

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  I thought—I thought Maywood was overwhelmingly Latino by at least 80 percent. 

AGUIRRE:  Yes, it is overwhelmingly Latino. That’s exactly why we wanted to—because they were targeting the majority of the people that live and work in the city; honest, hard-working people. We wanted to ensure that this did not happen any longer. 

CARLSON:  Honest, hard-working people, but people who are also breaking the law by definition.  Correct?  A large percentage of the population is here illegally. 

AGUIRRE:  There’s a lot of laws that are being broken in the United States, and this has been a minor technicality.  If the United States law enforcement wants to do something with people breaking the law, consider it so and do it.  But don’t give that power to the cities.  Cities don’t have any right to enforce immigration law. Federal law is federal law.  We’re not immigration agents. 

CARLSON:  Of course they do. Immigration law is federal law. Sir, you are an elected official.  I would think you would know the law.  If you see a law being broken in the United States, whether it’s a federal law or a local law, if you’re a sworn law enforcement officer you have an obligation; certainly a right to enforce it. 

You’ve clearly set up your city as a sanctuary for people who are breaking the law by being here illegally.  The rest of the state and the rest of the country are paying for that.  You say, “It’s fine to live in our city illegally,” but the state of California has to pay for medical care, for instance.    

AGUIRRE:  We’re not the only city that’s doing it. 

CARLSON:  Let’s talk about your city since you’re the vice mayor of the city. 

AGUIRRE:  Right.  What I’m saying to you is that we took a law that was being applied unfairly, and we said we’re going to be stop this type of practice.  We’re going to roll back this type of law, and we’re going to be more friendly to the people that live and work in our city. 

We’re going to recognize the contributions of immigrants. This thing of legality has to stop.  No human being is illegal.  Human beings have the right to be where they’re at, because you know, the market lets the people be here.  The economics want people to be here.  They want immigrants to come to this country.

CARLSON:  They have a right to be wherever they want?  As long as a business wants something, it should be legal?  Is that what you’re saying? 

AGUIRRE:  No.

CARLSON:  As long as somebody wants to do something, it ought to be legal?  And by the way, everybody appreciates the contribution of immigrants, me included.  We’re talking about illegal immigrants. 

AGUIRRE:  Let’s talk about reality, because every immigrant that came to the United States was illegal at one time or another. 

CARLSON:  That’s not true.  That’s completely untrue. This country is filled with immigrants who just got here legally, people who waited for years in African nations to get here, who played by the rules. 

AGUIRRE:  Let’s talk about that line.  That line has been broken so many times since 1976.  The rules have changed.  Immigrants are really frustrated of waiting for the law to come to them. 

CARLSON:  I understand why they are.  It’s troubling to me to see the vice mayor of a city openly advocating for people to break the law. 

AGUIRRE:  No, we’re not advocating anybody breaking the law.  If anybody breaks the law in our city, they will be arrested.  They will be prosecuted. 

CARLSON:  That’s not true.  By your own admission, your city is filled with thousands of people breaking the law by definition, and you’re doing nothing about it. 

AGUIRRE:  That’s the United States of America.  This is not only Maywood, this is Los Angeles Country, this is New York City, this is Florida.  This is happening in many cities across this country.  Wake up and smell the coffee.

CARLSON:  It’s not them I’m attacking, Mr. Vice Mayor.  It’s you.  I don’t think it’s their fault.  I think it’s yours. 

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