The new administration has sent nothing but bad signals about immigration law enforcement. One indicator is how successful strategies like 287(g) and E-Verify have come under attack. The 287(g) section
of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act set up procedures and legal authority for local police to assist federal enforcement, in particular to check the status of persons already arrested.
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) has been a strong supporter of enforcement, particularly against drunk-driving illegal aliens
, who have killed innocent citizens in her district and state. She first introduced the Scott Gardner Act
, named for one victim
, in 2005. It would have required all illegal aliens found guilty of drunk driving to be immediately deported after their incarceration.
Rep. Myrick and Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey had a press conference on Monday to set straight how 287(g) has been used locally with positive results [Sheriff Bailey, Congresswoman Myrick defend deportation program
, WFAE-FM, Charlotte NC, March 9, 2009].
In the last two weeks Duke University and the Government Accountability Office in Washington released reports criticizing the immigration program known as 287g.Â They say it is being used to nab petty criminals for things like traffic violations rather than serious crimes.Â They also say it fuels a fear of racial profiling among Hispanics.Congresswoman Sue Myrick sees a deeper meaning in the Washington report."I think it was unfair and I think it was biased in the way it did it," Myrick saidÂ Monday at aÂ press conference at the Mecklenburg County Jail.Â "And the administration, I`m concerned, is laying the groundwork frankly to gut the funding for the 287g program.Â And this to me says we are just giving up the fight on illegal immigration, period."Mecklenburg County was one of the earliest to participate in 287g in 2006. The program gives sheriff`s deputies the ability to determine the legal status of immigrants in the county jail.So far, Mecklenburg County has processed about 6,000 illegal immigrants for deportation. A majority were accused of misdemeanors and traffic violations. [Mecklenburg Sheriff Chipp] Bailey says most were arrested only after failing to appear in court on a previous citation. He insists his deputies do not check for immigration status until a person has been arrested for another offense.If federal authorities wanted the program to focus only on serious criminals, Bailey says they never said so."It says, that if they are arrested then we should check` em.Â And that`s exactly what we do.Â There`s no delineation about the type of crime that they`re brought into," he said.Both reports place much of the blame for problems with 287g on inadequate communication and oversight by federal immigration authorities.Â Still, Bailey maintains Mecklenburg County is safer because of it. He says it`s resulted in the deportation of more than 500 accused felons.
The Mecklenburg County information page on immigration
notes the basics of the 287(g) program and how it is followed there.
Under 287(g), ICE provides state and local law enforcement with the training and subsequent authorization to identify, process, and when appropriate, detain immigration offenders encountered during their regular, daily law-enforcement activity. [...]Using equipment and technology called IDENT, deputies now fingerprint and photograph all non US born arrestees.Â The IDENT system searches a special biometric database that only contains information on aliens that have been arrested by immigration or have had some other type of immigration encounter.Â Additional information regarding an arrestee`s immigration status will be determined based on an in-depth interview of the individual.
That sounds pretty straightforward. What`s the problem? Is enforcement working too well? Mecklenburg County got rid of 500 accused felons and is doubtless a safer place because of it.
You can read the GAO report online, Immigration Enforcement: Better Controls Needed over Program Authorizing State and Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws
. A major complaint seems to be that the program snares persons for "minor crimes, such as speeding." Reckless driving is not serious? Many Americans have been killed by drunk
And whatever happened to "broken windows" policing
that was so popular for a while? The idea was for police to take out bad guys for lesser crimes and that approach would decrease the incidence of big stuff. "Broken windows" has been successful, but an inclusive approach to illegal aliens already in jail (!) brings out the open-borders wackos, both in and out of government. They want zero immigration enforcement, and don`t care about the price paid in blood and suffering by American victims
of illegal alien criminals.