The Sanctuary City of New Haven has provoked protracted proceedings before the State’s Freedom of Information Commission over its refusal to honor requests for information surrounding its controversial “IDs for Illegal Aliens” program. The FOIC consolidated the cases of two complainants who allege the city’s refusal to disclose information about its activities violates the state’s freedom of information laws and regulations. This is hardly the first time New Haven officials have responded to FOIA requests by ensnaring those who made them in endless bureaucratic proceedings before the FOIC. They know how to game the system.

One of the complaints, filed by Journal Inquirer Managing Editor Chris Powell, dates back to September of 2007. Among other information, Powell sought documents identifying those to whom the city has issued government ID cards. So far, the FOIC has held no fewer than five evidentiary hearings on these complaints and the sessions are scheduled to continue this week.

Parading before the FOIC are various city officials asserting what well appears to be a contrived justification for their secrecy – the safety of illegal aliens. The argument boils down to this: There are some people out there so enraged by Mayor DeStefano’s conduct that if ID card recipients’ names were disclosed, these irate individuals will parachute into New Haven, chase down the aliens and beat ‘em up. Yeah, okay. Now what’s the real reason? New Haven does not seek to protect illegals from violations of the law; it aims to shield them from enforcement of the law. Disclosure of the names of ID card-holders will provide a hunting list for federal immigration authorities.

Echoing the bogus excuse of other sanctuary cities, New Haven justified the ID program for reasons of public safety, the premise being that illegals might not report crime for fear of discovery of their illegal status and deportation. Accordingly, New Haven police officers were ordered, under penalty of loss of their jobs, to adhere to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy respecting the immigration status of those they arrest. Thus, thieves, robbers, burglars, drug dealers and drunk drivers can offend, get arrested, get out on bond, and continue to roam around when some would otherwise be subject to a federal hold for deportation.

This public safety angle to this secrecy is pure bunk. It should go without saying that the sanctuary policy itself threatens public safety. An interesting statistic has emerged from those cities that, under pressure from rational people, abandoned their sanctuary status: crime decreased. Of course, it does not take a high IQ to figure out why. With the lifting of sanctuary status goes the feeling of security for illegal aliens. They take off, settle elsewhere, and take the criminal element among them along. If New Haven officials really cared about “public safety” they would not cling to this irresponsible policy, nor would they be wasting state resources and taxpayer dollars playing around with the FOIC and resorting to rhetorical ploys which do nothing but fill the FOIC chambers with a lot a gas.

Allowing illegal aliens who commit crimes to return to the community so they can commit more is a complete abrogation of the core duty of government to protect the citizenry. This farce in New Haven has been aided and abetted by liberal loons from Yale (redundancy?). But those with any sense of savvy understand that this is all about votes. Many questions persist regarding just how many of these aliens are or will end up on our voting rolls. Given the last two elections, Democrats know they need more than their traditional sources of votes (cemeteries and prisons) if they are to retake the White House.

The next time someone is hurt, robbed, raped or killed by an illegal alien, upon evidence that New Haven police had previously arrested, but gave the offender “sanctuary,” Mayor DeStefano and his band of Yalies should be sued. The left-wing law clinicians at Yale can then get a taste of a new brand of creative lawyering.

Karen Lee Torre, a New Haven trial lawyer, litigates civil rights issues in the federal courts. Her e-mail address is thimbleislands@sbcglobal.net.