A bill that would allow local
law officers to enforce immigration laws has been introduced by two
southern senators. Senators Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Zell Miller, D-Ga.,
are the sponsors of the bill which would allow police officers to arrest
undocumented immigrants so they could be deported.
Letís face it. In New Jersey
the issue of illegal immigrants has more to do with Mexican people than
any other group. No matter how you feel about this issue, try and read
this article with an open mind.
When they first came, the
Mexicans were completely in fear of New Jersey law enforcement.
hard work and genuine kindness, many officers earned the trust of this
community. Because they are ineligible for just about all services and
privileges from driverís licenses to mortgages, law enforcement has been
one of the very few public services they have been able to utilize.
Ironically, for many of them we are the only ones they have come to know
This new Federal law, if
enacted, brings up a myriad of issues, especially for lawmen and lawwomen
in New Jersey.
First, the issue of illegal
immigration has been almost completely ignored for over a decade. This is
not a knock on the INS (known today as BICE) guys either. The ranks of
Federal immigration officers have been stretched so thin that they have
only had time for illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes and cases
related or possibly related to terrorism. Also, they cannot be expected to
make up for the dangerously understaffed enforcement conditions at the
border. The result has been a massive, massive influx of illegal
immigrants to New Jersey. According to the INS, New Jersey houses
approximately 221,000 illegal immigrants. Some estimates are as high as
The task of locating,
processing and beginning deportation proceedings would take up countless
man hours. Where would local, county and state officers find the time to
take on this new responsibility? Where would we squeeze in this function
between traffic enforcement, narcotics work, DWIís, first aid calls,
accidents, citizen assist calls, alarms, and a ton of other calls normally
handled each day?
Then, we would have to deal
with the problem of how to identify them. Yeah, you might say that it
would be easy. Since most of the undocumented people in New Jersey are of
Mexican descent, we could just start rounding up Mexicans. How would you
do that? How would you spot them? Would you base it on their obvious
appearance? If so, you could be in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:30-6, the
statute that bans racial profiling. It would also violate firmly
entrenched case law which prohibits police from using race as a factor in
developing reason to conduct an investigative detention or arrest.
What happens when the first
mistake is made, and a person of Puerto Rican descent is accidentally
swept up. If not Puerto Rican, maybe Brazilian, Colombian, or any other
person of Latino descent. What about a Mexican person who is here legally?
Would we begin asking all Hispanic persons for special identification
proving they are here legally, or would we limit such a request to persons
who appear to be Mexican? How is a Puerto Rican gentleman going to feel
when he is inadvertently asked for this special identification? (As you
probably know, persons from Puerto Rico have the same status as US
citizens and are not required to file or possess any residency paperwork)
If we pursue illegal
immigrants from Mexico, itís only fair that we also look at persons who
may be here illegally from other countries. China is another country from
which people come here illegally. Do we start asking for special
identification from people who appear to be of Asian descent? Where does
it end, and how long will it take for the public to view us as the SS
asking people for their papers?
Then, we have the issue of
extremely complex immigration laws which make the New Jersey Criminal Code
2C look like a childrenís book. None of us have had any training in
student visas, work visas, green cards, and the mountain of other
paperwork and issues relating to residency.
If all of this begins, trust
in the law enforcement community by the Mexican community and eventually
the entire Latino community would all but evaporate. Crimes would no
longer be reported. The Mexican community would become an even bigger
target than they already are, and it would be open season on them.
Police & Fire
This would eventually lead to
an anti-law enforcement epidemic. Do you remember the picture of Elian
Gonzalez (the boy from Cuba) being take away by police from his Auntís
Miami home? Pictures like this one and worse would say more than a
Then, what would we do in
cases where an undocumented, Mexican couple has children that were born
here in the US? While the parents might be here illegally, their children
are legal, US residents.
There are just too many
reasons for us not to take on this immense responsibility. We are here to
combat crime and serve our citizens. The battle against illegal
immigration should be waged at our borders and ports, not in our apartment
complexes and parks.
The entire issue is not a
simple one. Undocumented persons do put a strain on certain resources
including schools and health care. Also, there is a limit to how many
people our towns and cities can hold. There are other issues as well, but
you cannot list the negatives without mentioning the positives. They come
here because they are filling a need. They do the jobs that first
generation immigrants have done for a century. They're not asking for
handouts nor do they want any. They simply want to work and raise their
It all comes down to a choice.
We can either offer an amnesty to the undocumented persons who are already
here which would solve most if not all of the problems associated with
having undocumented citizens, or we can become the immigration police and
face all the issues listed above and more. An amnesty program seems like
the better choice.
An amnesty, however, should
only be granted after our borders have been completely secured.
Deporting Mexicans under the
guise of anti-terrorism seems a bit far fetched. The resources that it
would require to take on such an immense task would be better used to
further reduce crime and serve our citizens.
Separating embracing parents
and children is not why we took this job.
February 20, 2004
"I like many
other cops in my department shared your point of view. We are not here to
do INS job we took this job to help the ones in need not to make them hate
us. Now, the criminals "beware" we are here to battle you!"
February 3, 2004
"I am an
officer for the New York Police department, (Narc). I am also of Colombian
descent, my father was an immigrant from BogotŠ, Colombia. This issue of
course hits home pretty close. I am aware of the immigration 'problem' in
our metro area. I guess I would be a result of said 'problem'. However, as
a narcotics officer I have encountered a large co-op between both illegal
immigrants and (surprise!) our very own American brethren. Might I add
very large. So, thus lies the complex web that is crime. It is easy to
pinpoint a group's use of illegal activities as a derived notion of
illegal immigration itself. In other words, those who are illegal we
believe to engage in illegal activities. The image itself inspires the
illegal, such as the image of a priest presents the image of respect. What
conclusion am i drawing to here? Well, a fairly simple one I studied in
law school, crime is a factor derived from every human being, those who
present the image are the ones who are targeted the most. Those who do not
are left to wander without our very wonderful use of 'reasonable doubt'.
Hey, and would any of you guys trade my father in? That is, the father of
January 9, 2004
to read the bill.
Is the intent of the bill to have police engage in "rounding up" illegal
immigrants, or to bring about police reporting their findings during an
I certainly would not want our police burdened with the need to gather up
illegal aliens, opening the way to accusations of profiling and such.
However, just as stopping someone with an expired inspection sticker can
lead to finding a serial killer (statistically one offense can very often
point to another and another) it can also lead to finding someone here who
-North Arlington Resident
January 4, 2004
"Illegally, yes. Someone should deal with this problem, but it should not
be up to local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. First
of let me tell you that this has already been tried in places like Texas,
New Mexico, Arizona. In some places you were paid a bounty (a federal
bounty) for every illegal you turned in $ 25.00, now if you don't think
you can make some "real" money picking up illegals, think again. I knew
guys that made over $1000 a week, by pulling illegals in. Now this is all
fine and dandy, but you have to remember that someone has to pull a double
duty when a car is out of commission because they are enforcing the new
immigration laws. Gee, who is going to get to pull the additional calls
every time another officer takes two or three hours to book one or two
"wets". Do you really think that the municipalities are going to hire
extra man-power to handle this "problem", not only no, but we have
brothers that are being laid off because there is no money for their
salaries. Are the Feds going to pay you for every [illegal] you turn in?
Doubtful!!! Think about it. It is not an easy decision. It is easy to say
YES, we have a problem, but the problem is not going to go away. INS
currently says to let the [illegal], go, why? Because they don't have the
manpower to deal with this. Homeland Security should be a priority,
absolutely, but not at the expense of an officers life because there is no
back-up for him.
item, if you saw me on the streets in my civilian clothes, would you know
whether or not I was legal in the US and unless you had PC to stop me how
could you tell? This opens Pandora's Box boys & girls."
January 2, 2004
focuses on illegal Mexicans, but there are thousands of illegal
Dominicans, Peruvians, Columbians, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, etc. I
certainly empathize with honest, hard-working foreign people coming to our
country in search of decent wages and a better life. But all too often,
being here illegally leads to other illegalities. What about illegal
aliens who fraudulently apply for drivers licenses? Just ask DMV. It is a
growing problem. Many illegals apply for drivers licenses under another
name, with birth certificates and social security cards which they have
brought from someone else. That's a false identification which is almost
impossible to detect. You can't be sure anymore that an illegal is who
they tell you they are at all. What happens if this person gets involved
in a fatal motor vehicle accident? Another ongoing problem is illegals
getting married to a citizen (for a price), just so they can apply for
citizenship. Once they obtain citizenship, they get a divorce. These
arranged marriages go for between $5,000 to $10,000. Worse still, the
illegals themselves sometimes get scammed. I think the operative word here
is "illegal". These people are here illegally, without proper clearance or
documentation. They are not bonafide citizens. Why should they be entitled
to our schools and health care? What about illegals who commit serious
crimes here and then flee back to their home countries, out of reach of
American law enforcement? It happens more often than people realize. The
biggest problem is that federal immigration officers aren't interested in
picking up one or two illegals. They only respond where there are large
employers with factories or sweatshops employing large numbers of illegals.
They don't have the manpower or the funding to respond for just one or
two. I know of several "undesirable" illegals in my area. By undesirable I
mean I know they are engaging in illegal activities. If I were to report
them to BICE, do you know what they would do about it? Absolutely nothing.
And that is
December 19, 2003
care where they come from. They came here illegally and should not be
rewarded for breaking the law. Someone needs to do something about this
December 5, 2003
guess for the NC driver licenses is that, since car insurance is sooo much
cheaper in NC, and they don't seem to care where you really live as long
as you tell them you live in the State, then some group of immigrants has
found it convenient to get the license and say they live there. In
reality, they're living wherever the work is. Pennsylvania is also
extremely lax about residency requirements. I have actually seen PA tags
come back with NJ addresses, followed by NJ, PA. I've been told that you
can get PA tags at private garages and dealerships, too. I imagine that
contributes. It's also a possibility that their major document suppliers
live in NC or PA, and they start their new identity there. All just wild