Letter to the Editor: Sheriff Gannon’s sanctuary remarks are painful

Morris Sheriff James Gannon at Tea Party talk in Morris County Library, March 28, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Sheriff James Gannon addresses Tea Party talk in Morris County Library, March 28, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Editor’s note: The opinions here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

To the Editor:

It’s painful to see our own Morris County sheriff pointing to an incident when an immigrant committed a crime and using that to slander by implication all undocumented immigrants and to call sanctuary cities “bad business.” If you have been in law enforcement, you have seen a lot more crime committed by US citizens.

Criminals are the problem, not immigrants or sanctuary cities, and most of the criminals are US citizens. We have more people in prison than any country in the world. The crime rate among immigrants is about half the crime rate for US citizens.

As Sheriff Gannon is aware, sanctuary cities are not saying that they will tolerate serious criminals.

From news coverage of the tea party meeting:

“In response to a question from Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Sheriff Gannon conceded that he knew of no towns in the county or statewide that have refused to cooperate with any federal request to detain immigrants suspected of serious crimes.”

Why would our Sheriff Gannon choose to scapegoat immigrants other than for political reasons, to show that he is a tough sheriff, at the expense of ruining the lives of hard working recent immigrants?

I would rather propose an attitude of respect and support for people who are here, doing their best, working hard under difficult circumstances and contributing to society.

Sheriff Gannon does not appear to be a native American, rather a person whose ancestors, like most of our families, just got on a boat and came here as unvetted, basically undocumented immigrants, for economic reasons and or as refugees.

For example, Irish immigrants were not always welcomed at the time either, like all other groups who came here and have built this country.

For me personally, it’s painful to see recent immigrants and refugees scapegoated, as if attacking and getting rid of law-abiding hard-working people will solve all of our problems.

These are not the people who have outsourced or automated our jobs or caused the recent subprime mortgage financial collapse. Economic analysis shows that these immigrants benefit our economy.

The argument that “they” are somehow “bad” because they are undocumented and therefore “illegal” is truly offensive in a nation that has thrived as a nation of immigrants.

Morally, no human being should be deemed illegal. This wasn’t always the case. The Holocaust was entirely legal. Six million Jews and about five million other innocent men women and children were brutally murdered and almost no one went to prison or was charged with a crime. The 11 million murdered civilians were deemed “illegal.”

We have not had a rational, effective immigration policy. The history of our immigration policy is a history of a policy based on discrimination. This great country has benefited all of us. We or our families all came here as refugees or as economic migrants. I would hope that, in time of need, we will want to provide a safe harbor to others.

Dan Karger
Morris Township
March 31, 2017

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  1. Humorous as always that any opposition to the liberal agenda translates to racist labels, demeaning comments such as “uneducated allies”, deflective fastballs like ” 2008 crash” as if that neutralizes or justifies the current topic and scenario. The country is tired of it evidentally and spoke through the medium of voting. Either continue to slander the opposing views or simply understand that theres a need for change in some areas. Respect the US, support the US and speak english.

  2. 1) The crime ” stats” are skewed and unreliable cor a menagerie of reasons.. kill that theory.
    2) LEARN english as priority #1 if you intend to illegally enter and assimilate. Not march for equality and make a liberal sound stage that also is skewed to pluck emotions on ” fair”. FAIR is then applicable to all facets of the issue/ not just the one that gets the buzz most are tired of hearing.
    3) If you are part of the community of illegals and have a genuine desire to be a citizen, then report poor actions, stop selectively choosing what version of name you use depending on your goal, immediately register and pay taxes, stop biying lottery and booze amd save for visa, dont participate in fake ID scam but rather REPORT the scammers. Dont urinate liberally and again, learn ESL. Dont attempt to change laws in the country you desire to be a part of, assimilate to the laws or stay in the country that has none. It doesnt work both ways. regardless of its canada, uk, south america or anyplace else.
    Peace comes from respect. Respect the laws of the land.

  3. I am sad to hear those people who discriminate against immigrants forgetting that their ancestors were immigrants themselves. Why can’t we give an opportunity to this people who are already here and are working hard and making our country prosper for our own good.
    Secondly all those who are speaking against them are Christians and go to church on Sundays and hear the Gospel where Jesus says all the time that we are all brothers and sisters. “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was a stranger and you welcome me. I was in prison and you came to visit me. These are the words of the great prophet Jesus the Lord of life.” Whenever we did this for the least of them we did it for Jesus. Let’s face the immigration system inner country is not working and they haven’t done anything about it. The elephant got to big and it is hard to control. But we need a just fair and human reform for all this people who are hard working individuals and remember not all of them are criminals. As an immigrant that I am I thank God for the opportunity he gave to my parents to come to the States and be able to call this nation my country as well.

  4. President Trump just appointed the economist Kevin Hassett economist to lead his Council of Economic Advisers. Like most economists, Mr. Hassett believes that immigration spurs economic growth. … Mr. Hassett has said that the United States should double its intake of immigrants.

    Mr. Hassett, who currently works at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is a widely respected conservative economist who previously advised prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney. Economists, who have been wary of the recent wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, are hopeful that Mr. Hassett will be an influential voice in the administration to encourage a more welcoming approach.

    On Wednesday a group of 1,470 economists, both conservative and liberal, are sending a letter to Mr. Trump and congressional leaders urging them to consider policies that allow more immigrants into the country legally. They contend that the economic benefits outweigh the costs.

    “Immigration is really not a debatable issue,” said James Miller, who led President Ronald Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget and signed the letter. “Immigration is a good idea if you control it the right way.”

    Mr. Trump has shown some signs of moderation as president in regards to immigration. He said he welcomed immigrants who love the country and bring valuable skills and strong work ethics. And he has yet to unravel President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for the so-called “Dreamers.”

    reference: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/us/politics/choice-of-pro-immigration-economic-adviser-riles-trumps-base.html?ribbon-ad-idx=2&rref=politics&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Politics&pgtype=article

  5. Our current immigration law is severely outdated and unjust. It provides no legal pathway to entry for the majority of those seeking to immigrate here, not because they are bad people or have nothing beneficial to offer our economy and society, but because they’re from the global “wrong side of the tracks.” There is no line for these people to get in, so until we actually force our elected federal officials to create one that makes sense within our current reality, I will not fault people seeking a better life from taking matters into their own hands. Is that not a form of the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” philosophy we like to laud so often in our country? And to all who take a hard line on upholding the law, while this is a noble pursuit, consider the last time you jaywalked, ran a red light, or got a parking or speeding ticket–you are a criminal on the same level as undocumented immigrants, since all of these are civil offenses. So we all need to be careful of throwing stones in glass houses.

  6. It’s encouraging to see that all sides of the political spectrum are now in agreement that comparisons to the Nazi regime are both despicable and inappropriate. When can we expect a public apology and retraction from the author of this story and the operator of this website?

  7. If you were born here, you won the geographical lottery. People who come here work very hard to get by, and they’ve fled situations that most of us can’t even imagine. Of course there is a portion of every population that commits crime, American citizens included. But you’d be fooling yourself to not recognize the role immigrants play in our society, both by holding some of the most hard working positions in labor and by diversifying our culture and life experience. There’s no reason we can’t support the immigrant population in our towns while still practicing the proper enforcement against crime across populations.

  8. We desperately need Immigration reform to acknowledge the role immigrants with specific talents play in our Morristown economy. We all benefit from the hard work of immigrants in local Morristown businesses.

  9. This letter to the editor is spot on. Undocumented workers are a great asset to the future of this country and we need them.

    For those people who came in to post lazy & mean responses attacking the letter, I ask you to do some work and educate yourself.

    These are the facts:
    1) It makes economic sense to have undocumented immigrants here. Yes it is an awkward position to be in, but that is what continues to make this country great. (see below for articles supporting this fact)

    I am not even saying this to be nice. In looking at the facts, I am saying this because I am greedy and want all the benefits they bring. I even feel a little guilty knowing undocumented workers have to work so hard for so little.

    2) Racist statements are still racist. Nobody wins when racism runs rampant, because it defies logic. Whether by comments online or officials like Gannon. Racists LOVE then when it doesn’t affect them, and then turn into babies when the table is turned. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
    Any public racist should be ashamed of themselves. Although Gannon seems to be pandering to racists with some success, so maybe he is fine with that if it lets him win. Maybe there are more hypocritical racists who vote at the moment.

    3) Crime statistics support that undocumented immigrants do less crime.
    And really, why would they be criminals? They ran from a country that is worse than ours. Why risk prosecution and be sent back there? Don’t believe me, believe Gannon himself, he was not able to find any crime in the last 15 years to support his view. Either he is also too lazy or the facts say he is wrong.

    Undocumented workers may LIVE in higher crime areas, but the math shows crime has nothing to do with race, and instead is tied to economic level (the poorer the person, the more likely they will do crime). What is so great about undocumented workers, is that while poor to US standards, they have a MUCH better situation than where they came from, so to them, their lives here feel rich. Hence, they are the perfect “poor” person, they appreciate what little they get, have no incentive to do crime, depend on little to no government handouts, and take jobs nobody wants. Win all around!

    It sounds like Gannon’s biggest ally is the uneducated citizen.. they don’t care about facts. The facts disagree with Gannon.

    4) What about this argument: “Why don’t we just enforce the law, they are here undocumented, kick them all out?”
    Laws should be obeyed. But we all know many laws are not followed. This is the tough thing about running a country. I wish the more people that caused the 2008 crash were in jail, that affects me to this day and greatly affected this country far more than this silly undocumented immigrant issue.

    So my ask of you all is simple:
    Be greedy, support undocumented workers. If you are racist, just do it and don’t feel guilty about it. If you aren’t racist, you can harbor some guilt.

    Economic of undocumented workers: Everyone wins!
    (Warning: If you want to understand the economics of undocumented workers, it is boring! Requires work! And if you are racist, you aren’t going to like it.)



  10. Yes, most of us are here because our ancestors were allowed to come here either as refugees or for economic reasons. Without the protection offered to our immigrant ancestors the vast majority of us would not be alive!

  11. It is painful to see our own county sheriff dragging up an incident that occurred 16 years ago in an effort to justify selectively targeting undocumented immigrants most of whom are lawful and contributing to society. None of the sanctuary cities intend to protect serious criminals.

  12. Apparently, there are those who have the “ostrich syndrome” and only preach what they term as a loving, wholesome, and compassionate approach for those who disobey the laws of our country, seek out benefits meant for U.S citizens, and undermine our educational system. The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants pay no taxes, federal or state, and all the while content to take advantage of the free social services and benefits offered to them. In a sense, our own laws are pandering for them to take advantage of our benevolence run amuck. The “good” life in America is just encouraging more and more immigrants to come to the United States illegally. Sorry, but it’s time to remove the bird feeder! We need an immigration policy that insists that everyone come in through the front door, and establish immigration levels that benefit our economy. Why would anyone not agree with that, I don’t know.

  13. Kudos to Gannon. some of us are tired of being called haters and Fascist, etc. just because we want to enforce the law as written. If a hundred people camp out on your front lawn, you might not hate them, but you’d want them to go home. that’s exactly how most of us feel about the people here illegally.

  14. @E Friedman… Or possibly it was a pivotol case that left a visceral scar on the then police officer Gannon? Often, those with political ambition are rooted in civic causes and the desire to make a difference and effect change. That Horrible crime exposed alot of the shadows easily maintained in illegal communities. Ideally we would want to remove that option. Is the preference to not learn from reality and past experience? Facts are facts. Emotions are emotions. Laws are laws.

  15. ..Referring to Trump as ” your president” would suggest a distinct non american mentality.
    As for the 2 driver license response, it would reflect a certain group of individuals that are breaking laws. Theres NO other purpose to have false identification.
    With respect to the presidents private citizen taxes. He didnt write the tax code, he navigated the one in place successfully and legally. Nobody is saying he is a pillar of morality nor most desireable. What the country said is, hes best of the 2 and nobody wanted to deal or hear Hillary screech for 4 years trying to overwrite her husbands legacy.

  16. Get out the violins.
    You cannot have people in your communities ghosting their way through as a form of standard. You sound completely biased in your own self prophesized agenda. Kudos to you on your personal choices and power on with those. For the rest of us, we too want a choice in what effects our neighbirhoods, schools, work and social venues. It doesnt include not knowing whats in your backyard and having no means to trace amd source people. The skewed and biased viewpoint bloviating amidst the ” pro no process” mentality is probably the result of no experience or knowledge of the very real dealings or knowedge of the ugly side of things. This has zero to do with routine rhetoric about inferiority, racism, CO anything. It has to do with evolution, knowledge, reality and progress. We arent reliving Ellis Island @ 100 years ago- which yes by the way.. immigrants LEGALIZED tgeor citizenship to America with a PROCESS requiring verification of identity and immunizations. Take your liberal mentality along with Zika and move to another country. Maybe bunker down with all your knowledge and be the trailblazer that reinstitutes civility in a country that has none. Because this country has laws. We have no desire is becoming another country . Its easy to live in your bubble if you are virtually unaffected by the daily impact of tge mentality being presented here. Maybe you can refinish your 2nd floor and move 15 in and let them piss all over the side of your house, leave cans and hang out. Oh, and be sure when you move them in you dont know who they are, what their legal names are or really much else. Let them watch your kids . For that matter, why know who anyone is. Why bother. What a dangerous mentality.

  17. Usually we are considerate and hospitable to our neighbors. This co-operation is what has made all of human progress possible. The problem is delegitimatizing human beings, in this case by stamping them with a label “illegal aliens.”

    The process of defining another group as illegitimate is what usually precedes and justifies horrible treatment of other human beings, including every form of discrimination, and including violence as occurs in physical attacks, slavery and every case of genocide. It is always the first step in the direction of treating a group of human beings inhumanely. It makes it possible to scapegoat them, exploit them and arrest them.

    I understand that this appeals to many people. By defining another group as inferior, illegitimate or undesirable, some people feel that that defines themselves as higher status, so it makes them feel good.

    To these people, it won’t matter if the immigrants have caused harm or are hard working family people who are a benefit for them or for society. It’s still possible to pump up and feel this false pride and feeling of superiority by looking down on these others.

    We don’t need to step on others to “raise our level.” There are many real and positive things that we all can be proud of.

  18. Really come on folks, if you break the law by being here illegally you are violating our law. Why try to make it more complicated?

  19. Comparisons to the Holocaust? Really? That is an insult to the people and families who suffered under that horrific reign. The distinction between legal immigration and illegal aliens is obvious.

  20. Tea party supporter. To answer your question, you have been doing it for many years, I’ve personally known of American citizens who carry two driver licences in their wallet. now about paying taxes just look at your president, he hasn’t paid them for years.

  21. Well said Dan. I thought it telling that the Sheriff had to look to an incident 16 years ago to fine a suitably horrific enough “example.” It proved he had no actual fact upon which to base his argument and was only whipping up racist sentiment.

  22. Nicely said. You are showing compassion, an interest in human rights, accountability, reasoned thinking and you make both common sense and well thought out arguments. It is hard to fight prejudice logically. They don’t care about any of that. Hate and prejudice show no compassion and have no logic.

  23. Gannon is on point. People seem so frustrated by reality and facts that the angle is to emotionally sway the focus in hopes that no accountability sets in. Why dont you seek data from your local law enforcement on statistics for just how many assault and ordinance violations are committed and who is committing them. How many U Visa certifications are issued annually ? Do those seeking the certifications have any previous arrests under other names?Who knows really? The UVisa application doesnt appear to ask about prior arrests either..strangely. Illegal immigrants carry 2 and 3 last names and have the ability to cherry pick which name they are in the mood to provide on any given instance with police. Which means you can have 50 violations under alias name “wonder woman” and then 1 instance under alias name “wonder boy” . Then you can request a u visa as “wonder boy” and potentially have it granted IF the police dept. certifies it. Most Police Dept refuse to certify and are not obligated. Imagine the discomfort knowing certifications are issued for people who are anything but conforming citizens. Isnt that a nice way to spend tax dollars? Rewarding offenders with a rolodex of chosen surnames. Can citizens do that? Maybe we can decide when we want to pay taxes, fines, show up to court or dodge the law? Maybe we can decide what name we want to use on out of state licenses with reciprocal states that do not require the same identification requirements as NJ. such a fabulous gateway for drunk drivers to avoid the cumulative penalties by having multiple names and licenses. So comforting! Keep Marching with the hot wind but lets try and consider obstruction of the law should still matter. As should protecting citizens. What is the protection against these antics?