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10.3.08

Good Idea/Bad Idea, Wildfire Edition

Good idea: Having a special separate fund to cover catastrophic firefighting costs. This would reduce cannibalization of other Forest Service programs and the need to go begging to Congress after bad fire seasons. Having a reliable pool of money would also encourage and enable the Forest Service to approach firefighting with a longer view, rather than "OMG there's a fire burning right now!"

Bad idea: Enforcing immigration laws and cultural assimilation during a wildfire crisis response. You would think that in San-freaking-Diego they would be able to get all warnings and emergency communications at least in Spanish as well as English*, even if other languages are tougher to get together. And the last thing you want to do when there's a natural disaster on is have people afraid to seek aid because they fear they might be hassled about their immigration status.

Here's the most ridiculous moment in the article:

San Diego police do not typically ask individuals for their immigration status, but when someone is suspected of a crime, "if they are asked for identification and they can't provide what would prove them to be in this country legally, the existing policy allows us to go ahead and call" U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sainz said.


Let's think of some other reasons that someone might not have their papers on them -- perhaps because they're fleeing for their lives from a wildfire?

*Given some of the troglodytes in the comment section on the original article, my cranky side is tempted to recommend a policy of issuing the warnings only in Spanish.

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