Are you a good immigrant, or an evil immigrant?

Scott Jones' immigration reform message a veiled call for more deportations

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones wants the president to do more about immigration—even though critics say his department has yet to fully comply with California’s TRUST Act.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones wants the president to do more about immigration—even though critics say his department has yet to fully comply with California’s TRUST Act.


Read more news analysis by Raheem F. Hosseini and others at our online blog, Page Burner,

Proving that he’s down with the kids, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones last week embraced one of the youth generation’s most basic tenets: If you’re going to embarrass yourself, do so on the Internet.

For those who didn’t watch, in an 8-minute YouTube video posted November 18, Jones scolded President Barack Obama for single-handedly blowing it on immigration. More than that, Jones even offered to fly to Washington, D.C.—Superman IV-style—to fix this issue himself.

“If, for whatever reason, you are unable or unwilling to affect the kind of change that is necessary to keep America safe, simply reach out to me,” Jones said. “I will get on a plane tomorrow and travel to Washington and help you in whatever way I possibly can.”

You know, right after he settles that mess in the Middle East and teaches Chuck Norris some new karate moves.

Two days later, Obama announced executive actions that could protect as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants—mostly permanent residents who have lived stateside five years or longer and parents of U.S. citizens—from deportation.

While Jones’ plea remained vague until the end of his video—he initially said he didn’t care which reform the president pursued, so long as he picked one—the conservative politician, who recently stumped for Doug Ose, finally did arrive at his real point:

“No matter what eventual pathway to immigration reform is chosen, there can be no conceivable resolution that does not involve securing our borders,” he said. Then, invoking Ronald Reagan’s biggest hit, he added, “I’m asking you to build up that wall.”

As for why a municipal lawman was directing policy advice at the White House, this one was personal: An undocumented Mexican national with multiple deportations under his belt allegedly killed two sheriff’s deputies—one of whom worked for Jones’ department—during a chaotic manhunt last month.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Jones promised his late deputy’s wife that he would press the border-security cause, but the way in which he did revealed a shallow understanding of how the law works.

After all, presidents need Congress to enact true reforms. Obama didn’t pass the Affordable Care Act all by his lonesome, and former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both failed to shove their immigration reform boulders up Capitol Hill.

Besides, labeling the deporter-in-chief as soft on border security is like saying Guy Fieri hasn’t done enough to popularize gut-busting diner grub. It just doesn’t fly.

Let us count the ways in which it doesn’t: Deportations and convictions for unlawful re-entry have both risen under Obama’s watch. Violent crime in general and officer deaths in particular are at their lowest levels in at least a decade, according to FBI data. And, despite last summer’s influx of unaccompanied minors from gang-plagued Central America, the Pew Research Center estimates that unauthorized immigration, which plunged sharply during the recession, will remain flat for the foreseeable future.

If there’s an immigration crisis, it’s not the one Jones is selling.

“Before I get too far afield, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not anti-immigration. Quite the contrary. I’m very pro-immigrant,” he said. “The problem I have is I can’t tell which ones are good and which ones are evil. … Don’t you think there should be some way of knowing? Or at least some way to track?”

Did you get that? Jones wants a way to track every undocumented immigrant. So he can tell which ones are good and which ones are evil.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, this is the same man whose office has struggled to comply with California’s TRUST Act, which says that local authorities can’t detain undocumented immigrants for simply lacking proper documentation.

So, now what? Maybe we should inject undocumented immigrants with GPS-tracking microchips?

“This is not about racism,” Jones continued. “It is about an increasingly violent and uncertain world in which we are inadequately protected.”

The sheriff obviously has a personal connection to this issue, and emotion can sometimes overpower our better natures. A debate coach would ding him for using the tragic deaths of two peace officers to advance a logical fallacy. Here in Straight Talk Town, we’ll call it what it was: manipulative.