According to a recent Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) article, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken additional steps to weaken the immigration enforcement authority of local and state agents. Through a draft policy, ICE chief John Morton plans to prohibit not only his own agents, but also local officers with 287(g) immigration authority, from retaining and deporting illegal aliens who are discovered as a result of traffic violations.
Ann Yom Steel, a political appointee, has stated the policy is in response to immigration detainers, claiming such detainers could distort the state criminal process or open the window for “pretextual, minor criminal charges.” In other words, she believes local officers will make up charges to get illegal aliens deported.
Furthermore, under the policy, officers may not issue a detainer unless a law enforcement agency has exercised an independent authority to arrest the alien. Immigration officers may not issue detainers for aliens who have been temporarily detained by the law enforcement agency (i.e. roadside or Terry stops) but not arrested.
Should local law enforcement be allowed to make up or exaggerate charges? Absolutely not! However, most officers just want to do their jobs well by respectably enforcing U.S., state and local laws; and the last time I checked, it was against the law to come to or remain in America illegally. Officers should be given the authority to follow reasonable steps and guidelines to have illegal aliens deported, especially those found breaking not only our immigration laws, but our traffic and criminal laws as well.
If you would like to comment on this proposed policy, you may submit them to Ann Yom Steel at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 30,2010.