Some xenophobic, anti-immigrant rightwing blowhard Louisiana Republican Legislator from House District 35 (parts of Beauregard and Calcasieu Parishes), Brett Geymann, is attempting to criminalize charity towards undocumented immigrants.
This dude has sponsored three bits of rancid legislation:
HB24 - Creates the crime of harboring an illegal alien. The actual text reads:
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to harbor, conceal, or shelter from detection any illegal alien in any place within the state of Louisiana, including any building or means of transportation, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the illegal alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law.What does this potentially mean? That any person who behaves like a Christian and who welcomes, houses, or provides shelter to undocumented migrants can be potentially sent to jail for a year.
B. For the purposes of this Section, "illegal alien" means any person who is not a United States citizen, who is physically present in the United States without the legal right to remain in the United States.
C. Nothing in this Section shall be construed so as to prohibit or restrict the provision of any state or local public benefit described in 8 U.S.C. 1621(b), or regulated public health services provided by a private charity using private funds.
D. Whoever commits the crime of unlawfully harboring, concealing, or sheltering an illegal alien shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
The other pieces of legislation are no better:
HB 25 - Provides for verification of citizenship or immigration status upon arrest. Read the text. The title of this Bill is pretty self-explanatory. Local law enforcement officials are being asked to function as Immigration agents.
HB 26 - Unlawful transportation of an illegal alien. The relevant section of this Bill reads:
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to transport, move, or attempt to transport in the state of Louisiana any illegal alien, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the nonresident alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law, in furtherance of the illegal presence of the illegal alien in the United States.You give your undocumented migrant worker neighbor a ride to the emergency room or the grocery store, you could spend a year in jail. What will the public transportation agencies do?
These pieces of hateful legislation are designed to tackle the undocumented immigration problem by criminalizing good deeds and charity. It jeopardizes the work that so many charitable organizations provide for marginalized and exploited peoples and seeks to criminalize such organizations for their good works. It is not only a completely impractical and wrong-headed way to resolve the issue, it is morally repugnant and wrong.
Right now, these three pieces of horse excrement are assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee. Let's hope this Committee lives up to the Justice side of its mandate and buries these Bills. In the meantime, any decent and fair minded Louisiana resident who reads this blog should contact his or her Louisiana representative and demand forcefully that they go on record as opposing these bills.