Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Fredette’s recent opinion piece on illegal immigration (Dec. 12) panders to xenophobia, with fallacies and inaccuracies that should be addressed.

First, he opens with a mention of the sad death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. However, her death was an accident, which is why the jury acquitted Mexican immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of murder and manslaughter.

The accused killer accidentally discharged a firearm into the ground, and the bullet bounced off the ground and fatally struck Steinle, about 90 feet away. Fredette’s failure to include this critical information makes his reference to her death inexcusably misleading.

Second, Fredette advances an argument that public safety favors a crackdown on illegal immigration, but the statistical evidence shows that immigrants to the U.S. rarely commit crimes.

Third, Fredette suggests that local law enforcement should be rooting out illegal immigrants by looking into suspects’ immigration status and detaining people at the federal government’s request without a court order.

Fredette, a fellow lawyer, should know better than to present such a simplistic view. Immigration law is complicated, and an array of constitutional provisions governs whether someone may be detained for a suspected immigration law violation.


Fourth, his argument for a causal connection between immigration policy and Steinle’s death is weak, relying almost exclusively on the “after this, therefore because of this” fallacy.

The sanctuary city movement did not somehow cause her death simply because Zarate had been released from detention before accidentally killing her. Also, most violations of U.S. immigration law are civil, not criminal.

By Fredette’s rationale, perhaps we should incarcerate or deport anyone with a history of civil traffic violations because he or she might commit a crime someday. I think our immigration laws and policies need reform, but facts and logic are requirements for any positive solution.

Zachary Smith is a resident of Bangor.

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