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July 11, 2006

Senate Immigration Bill Will Hamper Police From Enforcing Immigration Laws

Topics: Immigration and Border Issues

MexiforniaDL-650x404.jpgWhile we are being lulled to sleep by a low news cycle on the immigration issue, the Senate bill looms over us like a gigantic IED, ready to explode into a new influx of illegal immigrants (read Mexican and OTMs) from our borders, and one of the measures the Senate legislation wants to force down our throats is a bill that would bar state and local police from detaining aliens simply for being in the U.S. illegally (out of deference to the confidentiality concerns of foreigners in the U.S. - why are we suppose to give a damned about their confidentiality at the cost of being able to catch people breaking our laws???):

State and local police would be prohibited in key ways from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement combat illegal immigration under Senate legislation, a wall that opponents say would lead to rampant fraud, hamper efforts to deport future illegals and threaten national security.

"The Senate bill would actually make us less safe," said Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican and chairman of the International Relations Committee's subcommittee on international terrorism and nonproliferation. It "would roll back the ability for state and local officials to cooperate with federal officials."

Out of deference to the confidentiality concerns of foreigners in the U.S., the bill would bar state and local police from detaining aliens simply for being in the U.S. illegally. Police could arrest the aliens only if they commit certain additional violations of federal immigration law such as marriage fraud or document counterfeiting.

"This is a time bomb that is just waiting to do a lot of damage," former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Kris Kobach told The Washington Times yesterday. "Either it will be the damage done by terrorists in this country or it will be the damage done to our ability to control illegal immigration."

The wall -- which opponents say is similar to the one criticized by the September 11 commission for hampering efforts to prevent terrorist attacks -- is getting closer attention after Mr. Royce held immigration hearings last week in California and Texas. Mr. Kobach, who served as counsel to former Attorney General John Ashcroft and now teaches at University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law, was among those who testified.

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Under current law, a police officer may in the course of his duties ask a suspect about his immigration status. For verification, the officer can call the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC), a database in Vermont that maintains the status and identities of aliens suspected, arrested or convicted of criminal activity. If it turns out that the suspect is in the U.S. illegally, the officer may arrest the alien. However, under the Senate bill, the officer's power to arrest would be curtailed - state and local police would no longer be permitted to arrest illegal aliens for "civil" violations of federal immigration laws, such as overstaying their visas or failing to attend the classes required under their student visas. Is this not insane?

If we all don't flood the offices of our senators with emails telling them to stop hampering our law enforcement officials in their efforts to get illegal aliens out of the country, we're as insane as they are.

Posted by Richard at July 11, 2006 7:06 AM

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