Gregory Kane: Criminals targeting illegals 

And this, dear Examiner readers, is why we have immigration laws in the first place.

In the past couple of weeks, a girl described as being only 13 to 15 years old pulled a gun on a couple of Latino men and demanded their money. They refused. She shot both, one fatally.

The men were two of five Latino men shot on Baltimore streets recently. Some of those shootings have been fatal. This past weekend, 51-year-old Martin Reyes died after a brutal beating. The man charged with the crime has been described as one suffering from chronic mental illness.

As might be expected, the pro-illegal immigration crowd immediately swung into overdrive. They claim Latinos are being targeted.

The man suspected of killing Reyes has been charged with a hate crime, the evidence that it is in fact a crime driven more by insanity than hatred notwithstanding. (The suspect said in a police confession that he "hated Mexicans.")

On Tuesday night, a group described by the Baltimore Sun as "Latino activists, clergy and civil rights leaders" demanded that Baltimore police adopt a written policy that prevents police from inquiring about the immigration status of any Latino crime victim. Pro-illegal immigration advocates claim many Latinos fear being deported and don't report crimes against them.

So the solution, from the pro-illegal immigration side, is to gag police.

Rev. Robert Wojtek, pastor of a Baltimore Catholic church with a large Latino congregation, ironically put forth very clearly this muddled thinking when he demanded that police "clarify the fact that they are not here to enforce unjust immigration laws but rather to address criminal issues and violence."

In Wojtek's view, you see, America's immigration laws that have resulted in the one of the most racially, ethnically and religiously diverse nations in the world are unjust. But apparently the Department of Justice has gone Wojtek one better, as you would expect, since Attorney General Eric Holder heads it.

A separate story from the Baltimore Sun quoted a DOJ report as saying that hate crimes with Latinos as victims have undergone "an enormous rise in recent years, fueled, many believe, by the tenor of the debate around immigration reform and the constant demonization of Latinos on talk radio and by some political leaders."

That nonsense won't wash here in Baltimore, where the perpetrators of crime against Latinos are street punks who read no newspapers and listen to no radio or television talk shows.

And the motive isn't hate; it's economic. Many Latinos carry cash. The street punks know this, and pick easy marks they know have cash.

Why do some of those Latinos carry cash? That goes to the very heart of illegal immigration, which in turn is fueling violent crime against illegal immigrants. Many employers who aren't supposed to be hiring them in the first place are paying them in cash, deducting no federal and state taxes and paying no taxes employers must pay themselves. The law breaking is on a massive scale, and it's not just confined to Latinos who enter the country illegally.

Fred Bealefeld, Baltimore's police commissioner, said Baltimore police don't ask about immigration status, so there's no need for a written policy requiring police not to do it. A police spokesman earlier this week said immigration is a federal issue and not a concern of local police.

And here silly me thought that any police agency that gets wind of a federal law being broken has a duty and responsibility to alert federal authorities of it. In fact, that's kind of in the police job description.

How wrong I was.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is an award-winning journalist who lives in Baltimore.

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