Only lawyers _ check that _ only lawyers with the ACLU, could write this phrase, "...since unlawful presence in the United States is not, of itself, a crime," and keep a straight face.
But write it they did. Three ACLU attorneys signed their names to a July 16 letter containing that language and sent it to law enforcement agencies all across the state.
They are trying to convince local cops to stop abiding by detention orders issued by federal immigration authorities. The orders call on local police to hold a suspected illegal immigrant already in jail for an extra 48 hours beyond the time he would otherwise bond out or be released so the feds can get their hands on him.
The three-page ACLU letter is filled with legal citations and precedents and ultimately it may take a judge to decipher who's right and who's wrong.
But have we really reached a state where political correctness and legal niceties conspire to rob words of their plain meaning?
Unlawful presence in the United States in unlawful. The dictionary defines crime as, "an act committed in violation of a law."
Whatever fine distinction the ACLU wants to draw between an unlawful act and a crime, it is absurd to suggest that individuals suspected of sneaking into the country can't _ once in custody for something else _ be held for an extra day or two while their situation is sorted out.