Veterans for Secure Borders

Police & Illegals, Solutions not Problems; Take what we have and make it better!

Article by Bob Park, Veterans For Secure Borders, December 31, 2007

Congress and the present administration have not taken meaningful steps to boost immigration law enforcement enough to significantly slow illegal immigration or reduce the size of the illegal alien population. While immigration law enforcement is primarily a federal responsibility, the consequences of the federal government’s failures fall disproportionately on state and local governments, whose communities must shoulder the fiscal and social burdens of illegal immigration. Moreover, crime prevention and public safety is a local responsibility. The most important step local authorities can take is to ensure that their community is not a sanctuary for illegal aliens who commit crimes. This can be accomplished by taking advantage of tools offered by the federal government, through training of local law enforcement personnel, and through creative efforts to supplement and support federal efforts to remove criminal aliens. In addition, state and local authorities should take steps to deter illegal employment and discourage illegal alien settlement.

For too long state and local police have believed that anything to do with "illegal" immigration matters was exclusively federal. The Department of Justice has removed that doubt saying state and local law enforcement have the “inherent” power to enforce immigration laws both criminal and civil. Further, in 1996, Congress invited local authorities to participate, providing for delegation of authority, commonly referred to as section 287(g) training. At present, due to overwhelming interest from state and local LEAs, this program is oversubscribed and may remain so for at least two years.

Unavailability of 287(g) training in no way diminishes enforcement authority. Alternatives may exist through private providers, Omega Secure Solutions (OSS) and a free distance learning version Basic Immigration Enforcement Training (BIET)

Law Enforcement Support Center ICE makes its investigative expertise more widely available by providing support to state and local law enforcement through the LESC located in Burlington, Vt. The center's primary mission is to help local law enforcement agencies determine if a person they have contact with, or have in custody, is in fact an illegal, criminal, or fugitive alien. The LESC provides an around-the-clock link between federal, state, and local officers and the immigration databases maintained now by ICE. When a law enforcement officer encounters an alien, LESC personnel are able to provide that officer with vital information and guidance, and if necessary, place the officer in contact with a ICE immigration officer in the field.

Other Best Practices

1. Policies to establish protocols for when to screen for status – best practice is anyone in custody or under investigation should be asked citizenship and then screened for status (not victims or witnesses). Also all federal warrants, both administrative and criminal, must be honored. 2. Portable, wireless Live Scan – to fix identity, warrants and criminal history at point of contact can be viewed as a force multiplier requiring little or no training, answers truthfully, is multilingual and non-discriminatory. No chasing down an available ICE agent. (See below) 3. Jurisdictions should collect data on alien arrests and incarceration, including status, as verified by ICE. 4. SSNs of incarcerated aliens should be verified. 5. Cooperate with other jurisdictions to share info, pool resources and speak with a louder voice in requesting help from feds. Increase detention space.

6. With video teleconferencing in place, any number of ICE/Border Patrol processing centers could be established, it doesn’t matter where, probably with little or no increase in personnel. Expansion, if necessary, of LESC could be an answer:

1) to prepare the paper work and records checking;

2) determine whether to grant voluntary departure, removal or prosecution; and,

3) call the nearest “contract” prisoner transportation service for disposition. (State representatives should be called upon for assistance for such funding.) With processing completed and disposition decided, many aliens could be taken directly to the border or nearest staging facility, thus reducing detention costs. Cooperation of ICE/Border Patrol should be sought at the earliest.

4) ICE reports as of September 06, 2007, they have signed 28 MOAs in 12 states; training 349 officers. (MCSO reportedly has 160 trained deputies.) Again, today’s technology should be used to the greatest extent. Classroom instruction should be made available on DVD, Web based courses or video conferencing enabling officers to remain in their home districts.

7. Aggressively target document/identity fraud crime, smuggling and illegal employment, ideally with state statues.

Portable, Wireless LIVE SCAN Benefits to the Public:

* Aids employers in quicker background checks and hiring of criminal justice employees, school teachers and health care professionals. * More accurate and up to date criminal history records for persons applying for concealed weapons permits, private security guard licensing, sex offender registration etc.

Additional Indirect, but Ultimate, Benefit to the Public:

Police/Prisons:

* Protect the public by not releasing a wanted person who gave a false identity/alias. (Ed. The Erfle tragedy comes to mind)

* Protect the rights of innocent citizens by proving identity before the person’s arrest or incarceration.

* Link suspects to other crimes by checking their fingerprints against other prints in an unsolved latent fingerprint database.

* Getting officers back patrolling the streets with less delays by quickly identifying their suspects.

* Aids police officers in making decisions on additional charges based on the person’s criminal history prior to citing, arresting or releasing.

* Helps correction officers ensure inmate identities and any active warrants prior to their release from prison.

Courts and Prosecutors:

* Real-time updates to an individual’s criminal history record with arrest data at the time of arrest. * Provides more accurate criminal history information for the prosecutor to make charging decisions.

* Provides a comprehensive criminal history for the court to review when making decisions on setting bail and sentencing.

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