Skip to comments.Proposal Targets Migrants' Offenses (Police Say They Lack Resources to Make Arrests)
Posted on 11/29/2003 8:38:31 AM PST by Scenic Sounds
WASHINGTON More than a year after the collapse of a controversial Justice Department plan to grant local police the power to arrest people for immigration offenses, a similar proposal is moving through Congress.
It is meeting the same response: opposition from many immigration advocates and police officials, especially those in California.
Although it's illegal for immigrants to live in the United States without immigration papers, state and local law enforcement agencies have traditionally refused to arrest them for such violations.
They argue that they don't have sufficient resources and that such a policy would make policing immigrant communities more difficult.
Sponsors of the legislation insist that the measure would improve law enforcement and crack down on terrorism. But immigration activists say it is tantamount to "immigrant bashing."
Battle lines are being drawn on the proposed Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Act, which is expected to remain a contentious issue in the coming weeks.
Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., have similar bills in the House and Senate that would penalize states and localities potentially millions of dollars if they don't arrest immigrant violators. Norwood's bill has more than 100 co-sponsors.
"Every day, I hear from more rank-and-file law enforcement officers throughout this country who are saying, 'Enough is enough,' " Norwood said. "They believe it's time to fix our badly broken immigration system, stop putting criminal aliens back on our streets and make the Clear Act the law of the land and they're right."
Many law enforcement authorities agree that the immigration system is flawed.
But they say they don't have the financial resources to arrest people for immigration-related civil violations, such as visa fraud. They contend that job should remain in the hands of federal officials.
"I believe the biggest argument from most big-city chiefs (against immigration enforcement) is simply the lack of resources," said David Bejarano, the former San Diego police chief who is now the U.S. marshal for San Diego and Imperial counties.
Daniel Ortega, police chief in Salinas, calls the proposals in Congress "extortion."
"Norwood from Georgia, either he just doesn't care or know about the issues we have," said Ortega, whose city is 64 percent Latino. "We're trying to gain the trust of our community."
In National City
A recent incident in National City highlighted the debate.
A 36-year-old man, accompanied by family members, was questioned by police about a shoplifting incident. Although no charges were filed, the Border Patrol was notified and the man's aunt and cousin were deported.
Law enforcement authorities say what occurred in National City is not the norm. National City's City Council is scheduled to discuss the incident at its Tuesday night meeting.
Under the proposed legislation, federal money would be used as a carrot and a stick.
As an enticement to local and state police, the bill would award them assets seized from undocumented immigrants. Those agencies who refuse to arrest illegal immigrants for civil violations would be restricted in their ability to obtain funds from the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which is used to pay for the incarceration of criminal immigrants.
Some in Congress "feel they can mandate certain programs to hold off funding to cities, and we feel that's wrong," said Rick TerBorch, head of the California Police Chiefs Association and the Arroyo Grande police chief.
Last year, Attorney General John Ashcroft failed in an attempt to widely broaden the authority of local police to enforce immigration laws. When the Justice Department's internal plans attracted public attention, they were heavily criticized.
A 1996 immigration law authorized the attorney general to deputize state and local police during an immigration emergency and also allowed the attorney general to enter into agreements with states and localities that would permit them to routinely enforce immigration laws.
Florida and Alabama have such agreements with the Justice Department.
Earlier this month, Alabama state troopers were given the go-ahead to enforce federal immigration laws. The troopers "have clear authority to arrest illegal aliens," Sessions said.
"As we all know, our country has benefited from legal immigration," Sessions said. "But it is important that we effectively enforce our generous immigration laws and reduce illegality. In the past, federal law enforcement has been a joke."
Many immigration advocates disagree.
"Making state and local police enforce federal immigration law strikes a direct blow at the efforts of police to win the trust and confidence of the communities they serve," said Frank Sharry of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrants' advocacy group.
"By turning police into immigration agents, it discourages immigrants from having contact with local law enforcement, which in turn, puts community policing strategies at risk," Sharry said.
Staff writer Norberto Santana Jr. contributed to this report.
It's a fair question. But SOMEONE needs to enforce those laws, and someone needs to get the funding, authority and support to do so.
Our country (if we still can call it that) gets as many as 2,000,000 immigrants a year, half of them illegal. Most come from Mexico, and most of those migrants have no interest or incentive in assimilating to the majority culture. The illegals represent 20 to 25 percent of the California and federal prison populations; they're crushing the hospitals in the Southwest with the cost of their medical care; and all of their kids born here (while the majority aborts and contracepts itself into extinction) receive automatic citizenship. In the meantime, both political parties wink at the invasion, which is supported by every powerful interest group and opposed only by the mass of average Americans -- who are, as usual, disenfranchised.
The Census Bureau tells us that whites will be a minority in this country by mid-century. When that happens, will the new majority, fed for decades on a sense of grievance, entitlement and racial solidarity, show the same solicitude for white rights that our government has shown for them? History tells us that most multi-racial and multi-cultural societies are unstable and violent, or tyrannical and violent. Our glib, arrogant sense of exceptionalism, fed by nonsense like the idea that we are a "proposition" nation, convinces us that we are immune to these realities. (By the way: ask the illegals in our prisons, and the immigrants living in huge communities where English is never spoken and politicians speak of America as the thief of Mexican land, whether they subscribe to the American "proposition." In fact, ask a random sample of immigrants, or even native-born Americans, what the American "proposition" is. Then ask yourself if all the comfy talk about propositions and creeds will save us from the consequences of growing racial and cultural division.)
They've created this problem themselves by "winking" at it so long they are now swamped in illegals. The responsibility for enforcing laws of the land has always existed at the local level. Where the hell did they ever get the idea they had the option to "selectively" enforce laws of the land?? There should be retroactive prosecution of all law enforcement officials and politicians responsible for creating this problem including ex-presidents who have proclaimed group amnesties.
If, as appears clear, the federal government has so little interest in discouraging illegal immigration that it is as if the actual policy is to encourage illegal immigration as a cheap form of labor, why should anyone expect state/local governments to get too excited about what only some people see as a problem?
White Rights? You have lost your mind, there is no such thing as white rights. Whites can only be racists, remember?
History tells us that most multi-racial and multi-cultural societies are unstable and violent, or tyrannical and violent.
Unstable and violent will not begin to describe the first hour of the day.
N E V E R underestimate the raw raging fury of white men that have finally had enough.
Sorry. I forgot.
I don't think they should either. If an illegal is picked up in DWI, or driving without insurance, shoplifting or any other crime, they should be deported and banned from ever returning legally. Visa violators should be on a wanted list but the INS should go after them.
I'd say that should depend on whether or not they want any help from the FBI or Homeland Security when they manage to enforce state or municipal laws.
But then I'm something of an idealist.
Actually, "illegal alien bashing".
Why should the police be concerned about winning the trust of the lawbreakers in their communities? The police are supposed to ARREST the lawbreakers in their communities.
That's better . . . and let's not have any more of that logical thinking nonsense around here, someone might get the idea that we are not all doing everything for the chiiirrrrdren, we do not believe in our hearts M.J. is innocent, Democratic party funding by the Chinese is in the best interest of the United States, the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding, gender roles are artificial, but being homosexual is natural, businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity and jobs, self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it such as actually winning, standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides aren't, Blah .. .. blah .. blah .. blah ..
White Rights indeed!, How silly!
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