Immigration reform and enforcement are hot topics, of late, especially with Arizona’s new immigration law. After much ringing of hands, the US Justice Department filed suit against Arizona, disputing the constitutionality of the law. At issue, from the Feds’ perspective, is the state usurping Federal authority. The common counter heard to such a claim is states wouldn’t need to if the Feds were doing their jobs.
A grand opportunist, Michigan gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard has his own immigration enforcement scheme to put him in the limelight. You see, Oakland County’s Sheriff is in fourth place among Republican hopefuls for Governor. It’s actually a Federal program in which local law enforcement reports illegal immigrants to the Feds. Under the program, electronic fingerprints of arrestees will be sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to determine if the suspect has legal status or not.
While Bouchard claims he’s been working on this for years, and over 400 other jurisdictions participate, the timing couldn’t be more to his personal advantage. Any benefit to his constituency is just an added bonus. Michigan’s director of Reform Immigration America, Ryan Bates had this to say.
What we are seeing from Sheriff Bouchard is indicative of the politics of immigration being played out in the governor’s race.
As for Bouchard’s other grandstanding and opportunism, why is his name on the Department’s armored car? He served in the Michigan House in 1990, but ran for the Michigan Senate the next year. He served in the state Senate until he accepted appointment to fill the remainder of Sheriff John Nichols’ term after he passed away. Why? Bouchard would say it’s because law enforcement is in his blood. I submit it’s the fact the Sheriff makes a third again as much as a state legislator. Don’t misunderstand—there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make more money. But term limits, which took effect in 1992, would have soon left Bouchard out of a job in the state Senate.
Bouchard was re-elected Sheriff in 2000, 2004, and 2008; his present term runs to 2013. He obviously has higher aspirations, however, since Bouchard ran for US Senate in 2006. During that race, he had no problem collecting his $130,969 salary as Sheriff even though he spent a lot of time on the campaign trail. Oakland County taxpayers are, once again, underwriting Bouchard’s political ambitions as he collects his Sheriff’s salary while out on the campaign trail. That seems unethical to me.
A slick way for Bouchard to get his name out is his Student of the Month bumper stickers, a program he started as a State Senator. It sounds good, but what value does it really add? Just like Bouchard touts his role in Michigan’s sex offender registry. The problem is, sex offender registries don’t change crime rates. It’s just grandstanding on Bouchard’s part. Since only 2-4% of predators on social networking sites were convicted sex offenders, the registration program is both ineffective and costly. According to the US Department of Justice, New Jersey’s sex offender registry costs have grown nearly 7 times, from just over a half million dollars in 1995 to $3.9 million in 2006.
There are those who question Bouchard’s ethics in office. Is it an abuse of office to have your children checked on by out-of-state police agencies? Others wonder what Mike Bouchard is up to.
A discrimination/wrongful discharge lawsuit about the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is at the vanguard of issues. The suit has surfaced a number of issues within Bouchard’s administration of the Oakland Sheriff’s department. In fact, there are numerous allegations of wrong-doing in the Oakland Co. Sheriff’s Department under Bouchard.
He says he knows how to get state government back on track. In fact, Bouchard hasn’t been part of state government for a decade. And with the issues in the Oakland Co. Sheriff’s Department, why should Bouchard even be a serious contender for Michigan’s top job?
Previously on gubernatorial candidates: