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RALEIGH NC Feb 16 2013 AP — The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants who qualify for federal work papers, starting March 25.
Thursday’s announcement by DMV Commissioner Tony Tata comes less than a month after the state attorney general’s office said the agency was legally required to issue licenses to those qualified under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began accepting applications in August from immigrants brought to the United States without authorization as minors, granting those who qualify for work papers with an opportunity for renewal after two years.
Flanked by uniformed state troopers and county sheriffs, Tata said the licenses for each immigrant would be set to expire on the same date as the federal permit granting legal status in the state.
“We remain keenly aware that the driver’s license is the key to many doors in our society,” Tata said. “So as we approve driver’s licenses for those approved by (the federal government), we need to do so carefully.”
Tata said the five week delay in implementation would give enough time to train state license examiners and educate the public, both in English and in Spanish, about the policy change.
Immigrant advocacy groups and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union praised the decision by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration as a victory for rule of law.
“We are extremely pleased that officials did the right thing and will give young immigrants throughout North Carolina an opportunity to drive safely and legally,” said Raul Pinto, a staff attorney for ACLU-NC. “This decision makes it easier for thousands of young people with work permits to drive to work, attend school, take care of their families and contribute to communities across our state.”
The initial decision to deny licenses to those under DACA was quietly made by then-state DMV Commissioner Mike Robertson, who wrote to Attorney General Roy Cooper in September asking for legal advice about what to do. Cooper’s office didn’t respond until Jan. 17, after the issue gained public attention through media reports.
Republican lawmakers have been critical of the DACA program, which was put into place by the Obama administration after the Democratic president said Congress was unwilling to act on comprehensive immigration reform.
Obama is a supporter of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for qualified young immigrants brought to the United States when they were children.
Like many GOP politicians, McCrory took a hard line on illegal immigration during his gubernatorial campaigns. The governor, who took office last month, was not at Thursday’s media conference.
Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan conceded some conservatives who voted for McCrory might be upset by Thursday’s decision, but he said the law is clear on the issue.
“I think most people would say the rule of law is the most important thing we have in this county,” said Shanahan, a lawyer and former federal prosecutor. “I’m proud to be part of an administration working tirelessly to support the law.”
Birmingham AL July 26 2012 In the first nine months since Alabama police have been required to check the immigration status of every criminal suspect they encounter, Clanton police chief Brian Stilwell estimates his officers jailed fewer than a dozen immigrants as a result.
The immigrants who were detained, and later turned over to federal immigration authorities in Montgomery, ranged from serious offenders to harried drivers. One had a murder warrant out in Texas. Another was involved in drug trafficking. But others were pulled over for speeding or not having their headlights on. One woman, stopped for driving erratically, was trying to breast-feed her child.
The “stop and verify” provisions — derided by critics as a “show your papers” law — were some of the most contentious parts of Alabama’s sweeping anti-immigration law, which legislators first passed last year. Right away, immigrants either left Alabama or hid out at home to avoid contact with the cops. But police in many areas have been treading carefully while carrying out the new law, stymied by an initial lack of training, revisions to the law and the threat of federal lawsuits.
Even though Alabama is off to a slow start in rolling out the law, it is ahead of the other states, including Arizona, that approved similar measures. Courts blocked laws in the other states, until the U.S. Supreme Court gave its initial approval last month to the approach in a case involving Arizona.
The decision could also affect Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah, which have similar laws. Lower courts must act before those laws can officially go into effect. Meanwhile, Alabama’s police have been checking immigration status since late September.
The state will eventually disclose how many immigrants have been detained as a result of the law, but, for now, advocates on both sides of the issue agree that enforcement has been uneven. Supporters hope many of the practical problems that prevented police from enforcing it more widely have now been solved.
RICHMOND, Va. July 23 2012— The results of last week’s Quinnipiac Poll question on immigration were clear and loud: Virginia wants a tough Arizona-style “show me your papers” law allowing police to check the legal status of people stopped or arrested for other reasons.
By almost a 2-to-1 ratio, registered Virginia voters surveyed by the respected Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said they favor an Arizona-style crackdown — at least the police checks provision of Arizona’s sweeping law that wasn’t voided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Guess what: Virginia put a version of that law in place in 2008, two years before Arizona. It requires Virginia officers to check every person they arrest and take into custody to determine whether they are in the United States legally. Virginia long ago mandated checks on arrests and in many other circumstances, including admission to a state hospital, to obtain a driver’s license, Medicaid benefits and, in some cases, employment.
There are dozens of provisions in Virginia’s statutes aimed at isolating illegal immigrants. Some go back generations. With an economy still in its sickbed four years after a frightful meltdown, a federal government pilling up $4 billion in new debt daily, and jobs easy to lose and hard to find, paranoia and anger find an easy foil in immigrants, particularly undocumented ones. And as Quinnipiac found, it stirs powerful feelings that politicians can harness to push for more — even sometimes redundant — restrictive laws targeting immigrants.
When asked if they supported the Arizona model allowing police to verify the legal status of people stopped or arrested, 64 percent of the 1,673 registered voters surveyed said yes and 31 percent said no while 5 percent offered no answer. The survey, based on telephone interviews, was conducted from July 10-16 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
Asked if Virginia should implement the same policy, 62 percent said yes, 34 percent said no and 4 percent didn’t know.
Prince William County, which has a rich blend of Hispanic and other ethnic groups and has been on the front lines of skirmishes over immigration policy for years, tried a similar approach several years ago, but jettisoned it as a budget-buster.
In a twist, when poll respondents were asked what they thought of President Barack Obama’s decision to allow young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain work permits and avoid deportation, 53 percent favored the decision to 40 percent who did not with 7 percent undecided.
For the past two years, conservative Republican House of Delegates members from Prince William County — Virginia’s premiere testing ground on immigration issues — have unsuccessfully pushed bills that restate and make marginal advances to Virginia’s 4-year-old check-on-arrest law.
“Some people say that what’s on the books is already sufficient, but this clarifies the language and makes it more specific,” said Del. Scott Lingamfelter, who sponsored the bill in 2011. Del. Richard Anderson, R-Woodbridge, carried the bill this year.
But Lingamfelter, who has announced his candidacy for the 2013 lieutenant governor election, conceded that police “can already make the checks right now. Any locality in the state can do it. It’s considered acceptable police work.”
This week’s poll means the bill is probably bound for another encore before Virginia’s GOP-ruled House and Senate starting in January, Lingamfelter said
Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, the newly installed executive director of the Virginia ACLU who has spent years lobbying the General Assembly on behalf of Latinos and other immigrant groups, voices frustration over it.
“We have at least 50 laws on the books that directly affect immigrants, many of which require some sort of check on immigration status,” she said Friday.
In the Legislature, she said, “the first reaction (to the poll) is, ‘Well, we need to do something to respond to this public concern.’ Well, no you don’t because you already have.”
And in more ways than one might imagine, according to a list Gastanaga gleaned from Virginia’s statutes. The Department of Mental Health, under a law enacted before 1950 during the time of the state’s shameful experiment with the discredited pseudoscience of eugenics, must determine the nationality of anyone admitted to a state facility and to report to federal immigration authorities anyone found to be an “alien.”
Sheriffs and the Department of Corrections are required under another pre-1950 law to identify “criminal aliens” in the state’s jails and prisons and report them.
“We’ve been at this a long time,” Gastanaga said.
Politically, a tough line on illegal immigrants has been generally good for Republicans, said political consultant and retired Virginia Commonwealth University political science professor Robert D. Holsworth. They have to be careful, however, not to overdose on it.
“On one hand, you have a 2-to-1 majority in a poll showing people favor a show-your-papers law,” Holsworth said. But the electoral consequences of enacting ever more strident illegal immigration laws could be damage to the GOP’s prospects among the fast-growing ethnic and minority populations, he said.
“Then one day legal immigrants hear this and they start to worry and start asking themselves ‘Who are you talking about here?’ and they start talking about that,” Holsworth said.
Customs and Border Protection Officer brought in hundreds of undocumented immigrants www.privateofficer.com
Rodriguez, his longtime friend, Gerardo Rodriguez, and Vanessa Moya, all made their initial federal court appearance in San Diego Monday. They are charged with conspiracy and smuggling.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick ordered them held without bond pending a hearing Thursday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor White said the three should be detained because they might flee if let out.
Hector Rodriguez, 45, was arrested at the port while on duty Friday. A complaint detailing the charges said that since September 2010 through last week the trio made at least 37 crossings into the U.S. in vehicles loaded with undocumented immigrants.
One person who was smuggled and became a confidential informant said the fee for a “guaranteed crossing” was $10,000. Another informant smuggled at a later time paid $15,000. Neither was identified in the court records.
FBI Special Agent Terry Reed Jr. wrote in the complaint that the term “guaranteed crossing,” when used by smuggling organizations, indicates that a federal Customs and Border Protection employee is involved.
The same term was used in a smuggling organization that federal authorities allege was headed by former Border Patrol agents and brothers Raul and Fidel Villarreal in 2005 and 2006.
Coincidentally, as Rodriguez was appearing in court on the first floor of the federal courthouse, the trial of the Villarreal brothers was ongoing just one floor above, with testimony from undocumented immigrants who had paid $12,000 for a “guaranteed crossing” into the U.S.
In Rodriguez’s case, authorities said he would tell Gerardo Rodriguez, 42, and Moya, 29, what lane he was scheduled to work in.
Then when vehicles driven by the pair would come through the lane, Hector Rodriguez would enter bogus information about the vehicles — including false names and birth dates for the driver — into the agency’s computers.
In one instance, in October, he entered the name “Barbara Walters” into the database when Moya crossed just after 7:30 p.m.
After crossing, Gerardo Rodriguez would drive the immigrants to a hotel, collect cash and release them.
On Friday, just after 1:30 a.m., agents arrested Moya and Gerardo Rodriguez, along with 14 undocumented immigrants they had smuggled, at the parking lot in an apartment complex where Hector Rodriguez lived. Prosecutor White said Gerardo Rodriguez had paid rent on the apartment with proceeds from the smuggling.
He also said that the border officer received gifts from Gerardo Rodriguez, including use of a 2008 Hummer and 2009 Jaguar. A search of Gerardo Rodriguez’s Chula Vista apartment yielded other luxury items such as Rolex watches, computers, and flat screen televisions.
DEKALB COUNTY, AL June 24 2012 – A man with a history of calls to his residence involving gunfire has been arrested and charged with a felony county of discharging a gun into an occupied dwelling after he accidentally shot himself in the chest.
Back on On May 27th a few minutes past 9:00 p.m., deputies of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a mobile home on County Road 926 in the Kilpatrick community.
On their arrival, deputies discovered Jose Santiago Amaya, 29, lying in the living room floor with a single gunshot wound to the chest. Amaya was treated on the scene and was later airlifted to Huntsville Hospital where he made a full recovery.
During investigation of the shooting, the Sheriff’s investigators learned that Amaya had been in a struggle with his sister as he was firing the gun inside the house.
In an attempt to keep the gun muzzle pointing away from her, Amaya’s sister grabbed his wrists. During their struggle, Amaya discharged the weapon, striking himself in the chest.
Based upon the evidence discovered during the investigation, the case was presented to the District Attorney’s office and a warrant was issued charging Jose Santiago Amaya with discharging a gun into an occupied dwelling, which is a felony.
On June 21st, investigators from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office arrested Amaya at his residence on County Road 926 without incident. Amaya was transported to the DeKalb County Detention Center and a detainer to commence deportation proceedings was placed on him by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Amaya remains in jail on the warrant with bond to be set at his initial appearance and awaiting disposition of the detainer.
Sheriff Jimmy Harris said, “I’m pleased to have this matter resolved because this is not the first time that my deputies have responded to shots being fired at that residence. We are concerned any time we have gunshots in a residential community because once a gun is fired you cannot take the bullet back or change its direction of travel. Many young children reside in the immediate area along with innocent adults. I feel that the Kilpatrick area is a little safer now due to this arrest being made.”
HUEYTOWN, AL April 21 2012 - One Alabama police department is fed up with the feds.
Officers in Hueytown arrested an illegal immigrant on drug charges recently. When they ran his name through the system, they learned he had previously been arrested 34 times in Alabama.
Despite his record, the government refuses to deport him. Federal agents said Sofyan Eldani is from Palestine, a country the United States doesn’t recognize.
When Hueytown Police Chief Chuck Hagler contacted ICE agents about the recent arrest, he wasn’t expecting the response he got. Sofyan Eldani was not only in this country illegally, but had a criminal history that goes back 12 years.
ICE wouldn’t do anything according to Chief Hagler.
“They sent us a piece of paper called a detainer… basically telling him we are going to deport you,” Hagler said. According to the police chief, ICE agents told him Eldani will “‘probably just laugh at you when you give it to him, because he knows we’re not going to come get him.’”
In Jefferson and Shelby counties, Eldani has been arrested 35 times for different crimes, ranging from bad checks to assault.
Hagler said about Eldani’s seven page rap sheet, “It’s not a matter of he came over here, there was a misunderstanding of our laws, or he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are a lot of reasons you could legitimately say somebody might have a brush with the law. There’s a reason somebody may have one or two brushes with the law. When you start getting into the double digit arrests, you are dealing with a criminal.”
Since Eldani is from Palestine, he is a problem of the state of Alabama. Hagler said he refuses to sit by and accept that.
“This is a legitimate immigration issue, this is a legitimate concern. We see so much attention paid to other issues. I wish somebody would pay attention to this one,” he said.
Hagler said he’s handled cases similar to Eldani’s. He has been through this before with someone they arrested who was from Cuba.
For now, Eldani is behind bars on a $200,000 bond for those drug charges
Federal immigration agents arrest more than 3,100 illegal immigrants in nationwide sweep www.privateofficer.com
Washington DC April 4 2012 Federal immigration agents arrested more than 3,100 illegal immigrants during a six-day nationwide sweep aimed at convicted aliens, fugitives and other violators.
The “Cross Check” enforcement operation was conducted in every state, involved more than 1,900 agents, and netted more than 1,000 people with multiple convictions, reports the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” said ICE Director John Morton in a release. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 3,168 fewer criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators in our neighborhoods across the country.”
Officers and agents from all of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) 24 field offices led the operation with assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations and other law enforcement agencies.
ERO officers arrested 2,834 individuals that had prior criminal convictions including at least 1,063 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. Felony convictions included murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, terroristic threats, drug trafficking, child abuse, battery on a child, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault. Of the 2,834 criminal aliens arrested, 50 were gang members and 149 were convicted sex offenders.
In addition to being convicted criminals, 698 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country. Additionally, 559 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 204 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The arrestees include:
•Carlington David Richards, 34, a Jamaican national, was residing in Federal Way, Wash. Richards is a recent border entrant and an international fugitive from justice, wanted in Jamaica for murder. ERO officers received an INTERPOL lead, which subsequently led to his capture.
•Jose Angel Duran-Ramos, 66, a Mexican national, was residing in El Paso, Texas. He was convicted of murder on July 10, 1984, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was an at-large criminal alien.
•Veasna Uy, 34, a Cambodian national, was residing in Long Beach, Calif. He was an immigration fugitive convicted on April 5, 2000, of manslaughter, attempted murder, and assault with a deadly weapon.
ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009, and has since conducted seven regional and two national Cross Check operations resulting in the arrest of more than 7,400 convicted criminal aliens. This operation is the third nationwide Cross Check operation in the agency’s history. The first nationwide Cross Check operation occurred at the end of May 2011 and resulted in the arrest of 2,442 convicted criminal aliens. The last Cross Check operation in September 2011 resulted in the arrest of 2,901 convicted criminal aliens.
Last week’s enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP), which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. The officers who conducted last week’s operation received substantial assistance from ICE’s Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC), ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) and the Criminal Alien Program.
Two Chicago woman involved in shoplifting were wanted for immigration violations www.privateofficer.com
Northbrook IL Jan 17 2012 Two Chicago woman were charged with immigration violations in addition to retail theft after police stopped their vehicle on Willow Road Jan. 11.
Zofia Kwiatkowski, 58, and Patricia Kwiatkowski, 25, were charged with retail theft and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement violations after they allegedly fled HomeGoods, 840 Willow Road, Northbrook, with stolen merchandise, said Officer Mike Shep, spokesman for the Northbrook Police Department.
“They were fugitives from ICE,” Shep said. “Apparently, immigration was looking for them.”
The women fled the store with more than $300 worth of merchandise and headed westbound of Willow Road in their vehicle, Shep said.
A police report states that Zofia Kwiatkowski also hit a security guard “he was trying to keep them from driving away,” Shep said.
The elder Kwiatkowski also was charged with battery.
A police officer tailed the women’s vehicle on Willow Road and stopped it near Patriot Boulevard in Glenview, according to police.
Police found items in the vehicle with price tags still attached, according to authorities.
Police initially said the vehicle struck a light pole shortly after the incident occurred, but Shep said Monday that might not have been the case.
“I think that’s how it originally came out, but there was nothing in the report of them hitting anything,” he said.
The women were scheduled to appear in bond court Jan. 12. However, Cook County officers were closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and no one could be reached to elaborate on the charges.
The AP reviewed the training materials:
Training materials from the course, provided to The Associated Press by Benefield, emphasize that only the federal government has the power to determine whether someone is in the country legally, but that police agencies and administrators can be sued under the state law for failing to enforce either it or federal immigration statutes.
A course handout explains how officers should operate under the state statute — profiling based on race, color or national origin is barred — and says the law “does not authorize state, county and municipal agencies to seek out ‘illegals’ for deportation.”
Enforcement of the new law isn’t supposed to interfere with other police work. “This law doesn’t change the focus or priority of your agency,” the materials state.
The training will continue into January. Benefield told the AP that the training could not happen sooner because the commission had to sort through all of the court rulings regarding the law to understand what they were working with.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) obtained government documents containing nearly 200 allegations of sexual abuse since 2007.
The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, reveal the highest number of allegations – totaling 56 – were made in Texas, although there have been reports of abuse in every state that houses an immigration detention facility.
According to the ACLU findings: ‘While the information gleaned from the documents likely does not represent the full scope of the problem given that sexual abuse is notoriously underreported, the documents nonetheless make clear that the sexual abuse of immigration detainees is not an isolated problem limited to a few rogue facilities or to a handful of bad-apple government contractors who staff some of the nation’s immigration jails.’
The ACLU of Texas has issued a civil lawsuit against the Don Hutto Family Residential Centre, in Texas, on behalf of three women who claim they were sexually assaulted while in custody, having appealed for asylum in the U.S.
More…Immigration officer ‘threw bricks of marijuana out of window on high speed chase after police sting’
It also names Williamson County, Texas and American’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) as defendants.
The Hutto Centre is fun on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the CCA.
The ACLU suit also names three ICE officials, the former facility administration for Hutto and a guard who had pleaded guilty to three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint based on his assaults of five women.
Guard Donald Dunn has separately been charged with four additional federal counts of criminal violation of civil rights and is awaiting sentencing on two of them.
Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas said: ‘The fact that these women sought sanctuary in the United States – only to find abuse at the hands of officials they thought would protect them – is wholly inconsistent with America’s self-proclaimed reputation as a beacon of human rights and a protector of human dignity.’
The assaults reportedly occurred when Dunn was single-handedly transporting women from the Hutto facility to the airport or bus station in nearby Austin.
Further documents reveal at least 20 different male guards transported at least 44 female detainees alone between December 2008 and May 2010.
The ACLU lawsuit alleges ICE, Williamson County and CCA were ‘deliberately indifferent and willfully blind to the fact that Dunn and other employees regularly violated the rule that detainees not be transported without another escort officer of the same gender present.’
‘Unfortunately, we believe these complaints are just the tip of the iceberg,’ said Mark Whitburn, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas.
‘Government records reveal that since 2007, 185 complaints have been made to the Department of Homeland Security about sexual abuse in ICE custody, 56 of which were from facilities in Texas.
‘Immigrants in detention are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, and those holding them in custody know it. Many do not speak English, many – like our plaintiffs – have fled violence in their home countries and are terrified of being returned. They may not be aware of their rights or they may be afraid to exercise them.
David Shapiro, staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project, said: ‘It is clear there is an urgent need for the government to recognise just how pervasive a problem the sexual abuse of immigration detainees is and take immediate steps to fix the problem and ensure that everyone in the government’s care is protected.
‘The detainees in immigration detention are a particularly vulnerable population. Even one incident of sexual abuse is too many.’
D.C.’s Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order to ban police officers from making inquiries into a person’s immigration status. While most foreign countries regularly ask visitors to display their passports and visas, the capitol of the United States now prohibits such requests by law enforcement.
According to Gray’s executive order, the District’s law enforcement officers are prohibited from inquiring about the immigration status of individuals or to share information about immigration status with federal agencies except when that status pertains directly to a criminal investigation.
“This executive order ensures public safety by ensuring that our police resources are deployed wisely and our immigrant communities feel safe [in] cooperating with those who are sworn to protect them,” Gray said in a press statement.
Mayor Gray’s order directs police officials not to detain suspected illegal aliens on the basis of immigration status. It also forbids law enforcement agencies from making incarcerated youth and adults in their custody available to federal immigration enforcement officials for interviews without a court order.
The D.C. “sanctuary policy” is the opposite of the strict immigration laws in states such as Arizona and Alabama.
The recently implemented Alabama immigration law requires police officers, in the course of any lawful “stop, detention or arrest,” to make a “reasonable attempt” to determine a person’s citizenship or immigration status.
Observers believe Mayor Gray is attempting to duplicate the San Francisco policy in which Sheriff Michael Hennessey withdrew from a federally mandated program — that checks criminals’ immigration status –because it violates San Francisco’s sanctuary policies.
Sheriff Hennessey is hailed as a progressive law enforcement commander since he operates the county jails and he gained an exemption from a Homeland Security Department program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database.
The idea of Secure Communities, which is run by the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement directorate, or ICE, is to deport dangerous criminal aliens, many of whom have fallen through the cracks over the years, according to officials from a public-interest group that investigates political corruption, Judicial Watch.
But Hennessey is outspoken about his belief that complying with Secure Communities — a federal law — violates San Francisco’s longtime sanctuary law, which forbids public employees and police from asking anyone about their immigration status.
“I can understand San Francisco having such a policy with its leftist leanings, but Washington, D.C.? Our nation’s capitol is now a sanctuary city? In other words, cities are now permitted to cooperate with the feds only when its leaders agree with the federal law in question,” said former NYPD detective and military intelligence officer Mike Snopes.
WASHINGTON DC Oct 19 2011 – The U.S. deported nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants last year, and an increasing number of them were convicted criminals, according to figures set for release Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security.
Deportations have been on the rise for the past decade, and the 396,906 illegal immigrants deported in fiscal year 2011 is the highest number yet, according to the figures.
Under the Obama administration, Homeland Security issued new priorities to focus deportations on convicted criminals, people who pose threats to national security and repeated border-crossers. Last year, 55% of those deported were convicted criminals, the highest percentage in nearly a decade.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said the numbers reflect the administration’s “focus on sensible immigration.”
“In the face of limited resources, we have to prioritize, and that starts with criminal offenders,” Morton said. “We are making sure that people who game the system face the consequences.”
Critics say the numbers illustrate the administration’s intent on finding ways for illegal immigrants to stay in the country.
Obama last year endorsed the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal status to some children of illegal immigrants, but it failed to pass Congress.
And Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has questioned the reprioritizing of deportations, arguing that it amounts to a free pass for illegal immigrants who have not committed major crimes.
“It’s disappointing that the Obama administration continues to put illegal immigrants before the American people,” Smith said. “We could free up millions of jobs for citizens and legal immigrants if we simply enforced our immigration laws.”
Others look at the numbers and wonder how they could be interpreted as leniency.
“For billions of dollars to be spent so that 45% of the people we’re deporting are not convicted criminals is not a good use of our enforcement dollars,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, which supports a path for some of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants to become citizens.
Of the convicted criminals deported last year, 1,119 were convicted of homicide, 5,848 of sexual offenses, 44,653 of drug-related offenses and 35,927 of driving under the influence, according to the Homeland Security figures.
The number of illegal immigrants deported has risen from 116,782 in 2000. The percentage of criminal deportations was at 31% when Obama assumed office.
The two-day operation, which ended Thursday, targeted foreign-born gang members and their associates throughout the Milwaukee area. ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is coordinating the detention and deportation of the aliens to their home countries.
“Removing dangerous gang members and their associates from our streets, makes our communities and homeland safer,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Chicago. “Enhancing public safety is a top priority for ICE HSI. And working with our local law enforcement partners makes all our operations more effective.” Hartwig oversees six Midwestern states, including Wisconsin.
This enforcement operation was conducted as part of Operation Community Shield, an ongoing national ICE HSI initiative that targets foreign-born gang members and gang associates.
Seventeen of those arrested during this operation are documented gang members; 13 are gang associates from local street gangs. Gang affiliations include the C14 SureÃ±os, Mexican Posse, Latin Kings and Brown Pride.
Six were arrested on criminal warrants or charges, and 24 were administratively arrested by ICE on immigration violations.
Following are two cases from this week’s arrests: (For privacy reasons, ICE does not include identifiable information on individuals.)
A 29-year-old U.S. permanent resident whose criminal convictions make him deportable. His criminal record includes convictions for battery, possessing marijuana, possessing cocaine, criminal damage to property, and violating a domestic abuse injunction. He is a Mexican Posse gang member.
A 29-year-old Mexican national who illegally re-entered the country after having been deported. His criminal convictions include possessing a dangerous weapon, pointing a firearm at a person, possessing cocaine, escape-criminal arrest. He belongs to the Mexican Posse gang.
The 24 who were administratively arrested on immigration violations are in ICE custody and have been placed into deportation proceedings. Five men arrested had been previously deported. Re-entering the United States after being formally deported is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Under Operation Community Shield, ICE partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational criminal street gangs.
Since Operation Community Shield began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 22,000 gang members and associates linked to more than 1,200 different street gangs. More than 250 of those arrested were gang leaders.
The National Gang Unit at ICE identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal seized activities.
Costco Wholesale enters partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement www.privateofficer.com
Seattle WA July 30 2011 Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale has entered a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure its current and future employees who are immigrants are legally allowed to work in the U.S.
One of the nation’s largest retailers, Costco joined 12 other Washington employers in participating in the free and voluntary program, called ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE).
ICE trains program participants on proper hiring — including how to spot potentially fraudulent employment documents, and it conducts audits of their employment records to ensure current employees are legally allowed to work.
IMAGE participants use a Social Security-number verification service, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify to screen documents of new hires against Social Security Administration and Homeland Security records.
Joel Benoliel, senior vice president and chief legal officer for Costco said by partnering with the government “we set high standards for other U.S.-based companies.”
He said Costco was asked to participate because audits of its employment records show the company is in strong compliance with employment laws.
ICE officials hope Costco’s participation might encourage other employers to join. Started five years ago, IMAGE has only 100 employer members nationwide, including Tyson Foods.
Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center signed an agreement earlier this month. Tacoma-based TrueBlue, formerly Labor Ready, is also a participant.
In a prepared statement, Leigh Winchell, ICE’s special agent in charge in Seattle said, “This action sends a strong message to the millions of Americans who do business with Costco that the company places a priority on hiring and employing a legal work force.”
Costco currently operates 427 warehouses in the United States and Puerto Rico.
The company employs more than 140,000 people, including seasonal workers.
Mesa AZ July 19 2011 At least 28 arrests were made at a Mesa bread factory after the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the bakery around 11 a.m. Thursday.
Officials said 31 people are suspected of being in the country illegally and that they had used false identification documents, mainly Social Security cards, to gain employment at the Alpine Valley Bread Company, near Country Club Drive and Southern Avenue.
“These investigations zero-in on people who have provided false identification,” Arpaio said. “It’s a class 4 felony.”
Approximately 50 to 60 employees were working inside the bakery when the raid occurred, and as of 3:00 p.m., the Sheriff confirmed 28 arrests had been made. The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating but believes 26 of those people are in the country illegally. The other two arrested are U.S. citizens with outstanding warrants, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office had been investigating the factory for the past two-and-a-half months. Arpaio declined to comment on how the agency was tipped off to the factory.
The agency’s raids have drawn mixed criticism from citizens across Arizona.
One individual driving by the factory yelled profanities at Arpaio as others shouted in support.
A Tempe man brought his 8-year-old son to the scene as an educational opportunity.
“This is something that I wanted him to see and learn from,” said Mark Calderon.
Arpaio reiterated several times that the raids targeted identity fraud, and denied that he was racially profiling anyone.
“We’re number 1 in the nation for false identification, and that’s who we’re arresting,” he said. “All I do is enforce the law.”
The Rev. Magdalena Schwartz, an immigrant-rights activist and pastor, drove to the factory to address the sheriff.
“We need immigration reform,” she told Arpaio. “We need your help.”
According to Arpaio, people opposed to the raids should contact lawmakers. It’s unclear whether or not the employers at the bread company will face any charges.
“We have to prove employers know fully and willingly hired them,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio said his office has cited only three employers in the 48 business raids it has made over the last three years.
“I think I’m doing something for the president and the economy since we have a big unemployment,” Arpaio said.
None of the individuals arrested have yet been identified. Check back with azcentral.com for updates.
Atlanta GA June 29 2011
Six undocumented immigrant high school students—Dulce Guerrero, Jessica Vasquez, Rolando Zenteno, Nataly Ibarra, Felipe Baeza and Leeidy Solis, some as young as 16 years old—have been arrested by police while protesting the Georgia’s anti-immigrant law at the state capitol today.
A federal judge has issued a temporary block against two of the harshest provisions of Georgia’s new sweeping anti-immigrant law, HB 87, just days before the law is set to go into effect.
Most of the law still stands, and is set to go into effect later this week, on July 1. Today, a handful of Georgia undocumented immigrant youth are headed to Atlanta to protest the law and this afternoon plan to risk arrest by announcing their status in the state capitol.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash issued an injunction against the provisions of HB 87 which were designed to mimic Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070, including a provision which would have empowered police to investigate the immigration statuses of people they had “reasonable suspicion” to believe were undocumented. Judge Thrash also enjoined, pending the outcome of a court challenge to the law, the portion of HB 87 which made it a state crime to harbor or transport an undocumented immigrant.
Yet the undocumented immigrant youth who are headed to the state capitol aren’t letting up.
“Our biggest fear is that people think that some form of injunction against HB 87 means we can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Mohammad Abdollahi, an undocumented immigrant activist and cofounder of the immigrant youth clearinghouse DreamActivist.org said from Georgia.
“The things that HB 87 would have allowed are already happening in Georgia, with or without the law,” Abdollahi said, citing local enforcement policies that crack down on people who drive without a license and Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program that allows the federal government to have access to the rolls of anyone who’s booked in a participating county’s local jails, even if charges are never filed or people are eventually acquitted.
On July 1, the state will go ahead with adopting the provisions of HB 87 which restrict immigrants’ access to public benefits and mandate the adoption of E-Verify, the controversial federal employment verification database. Thrash threw out arguments that challenged HB 87’s mandatory E-Verify provision. E-Verify supposedly cracks down on bosses that hire undocumented workers by requiring bosses to check the Social Security Numbers of workers against a flawed database.
Still, Georgia lawmakers consider E-Verify a crucial win. “We know the No. 1 incentive that exists for illegal aliens to come to Georgia is access to private sector jobs,” Republican state Rep. Matt Ramsey told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It’s this climate of fear and anti-immigrant legislation that Georgia’s immigrant youth are protesting today.
“It’s crazy because you can’t even work,” said Jessica Vasquez, an 18-year-old high schooler who’s undocumented. “What are we supposed to live off of if you can’t even work?”
Vasquez will be one of several undocumented immigrant youth who plan to take part in civil disobedience this afternoon to protest HB 87, as well as a new ban Georgia adopted that forbids undocumented immigrant students from enrolling in any of the state’s top five public universities.
“I can’t live my life in fear. I’m tired of waiting.”
Vasquez said that even though HB 87 and other state immigration laws are tied up in the courts, they’ve successfully frightened the immigrant community, and that she’s noticed its impact on her own family.
“Every night I text my mom when she is at work and ask her, ‘Where are you? Are you okay? Are you coming home?’ and when she doesn’t answer I get mad at her because anything could happen to her,” Vasquez said. “When she comes in the door, I’m always waiting for her, just to know that nothing happened to her. That’s how hard it is.”
“The ruling is a partial victory for immigrant communities,” said Teodoro Maus, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of HB 87 who represents the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. “Before HB 87 became law there was such aggression and misinformation about the Latino community. What HB 87 was trying to do was institutionalize it, and then harden to criminalize every action that Latino and other immigrants would need to live.”
Monday’s injunction is the fourth such ruling to be issued against a state immigration law. Similar injunctions have been granted against Arizona’s SB 1070, the Utah Compact, Indiana’s HB 590. The Department of Justice sued Arizona, arguing that immigration enforcement is strictly the territory of the federal government, but has yet to take action against the many other states who’ve passed restrictive anti-immigrant policy since.
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force opened a full-blown investigation last year of Pejman Amrollah Majdabadi, 30, for his “aggressiveness” in wanting to join the FBI and his e-mailed request to the agency seeking to attend weapons of mass destruction training being taught by the JTTF, according to a criminal complaint affidavit unsealed Monday.
The Iranian-born officer, now a U.S. citizen, was taken to federal court in San Antonio late Friday on a charge of making false statements about his citizenship to get a job in law enforcement. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bond following a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo. If convicted, Amrollah could face up to five years in prison.
Amrollah has worked for the Fair Oaks Ranch Police Department since April 30, 2007, and has been “a good officer,” said Police Chief Scott Rubin.
The affidavit said that since 2003, Texas law requires police officer applicants to be U.S. citizens, and Rubin said Amrollah was a citizen “as far as I knew” when he applied. Amrollah is now on unpaid administrative leave, Rubin said.
The FBI claims Amrollah lied about his U.S. citizenship in applications to be a jailer, a police officer and, most recently, an FBI agent. In April 2010, the affidavit said, Amrollah e-mailed the FBI expressing interest in attending WMD training, and about joining the JTTF.
In May 2010, he e-mailed again “stating he would be a good asset for the JTTF due to his language abilities and connections he had to the local Persian community,” the affidavit said.
“Sensitive positions with the U.S. government are taken very seriously and any attempt at being deceptive to gain access to these positions is going to be pursued,” said special agent Erik Vasys, spokesman for the FBI in San Antonio.
The affidavit said Amrollah was born in Iran in 1981 or 1982. In July 1998, when about 16, he was caught by the U.S. Border Patrol crossing illegally from Mexico with his parents and a juvenile sister. The family later applied for asylum, and their request was granted in September 1999, the affidavit said.
He obtained legal permanent resident status on Oct. 5, 2004, and on Feb. 25, 2010, Amrollah became a naturalized U.S. citizen — more than a month after his most recent application to the FBI, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said the FBI found Amrollah applied multiple times to various positions within the FBI starting in 2000, and “a comparison of the applications indicated discrepancies and/or false statements.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says 41-year-old Jose Gutierrez was trying to re-enter the country through the San Luis port when he was ordered to a secondary area for follow-up inspection.
The agency says Gutierrez fell and hit his head on the floor March 30 while trying to escape back to Mexico.
Gutierrez’s attorney tells the Yuma Sun the injury stems from excessive force applied by port officers.
A spokesman of U.S. Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the lawsuit but confirmed the incident is under investigation
Atlanta GA June 2 2011 Law enforcement officials in Georgia are preparing for a new immigration law that is to take effect on July 1.
The new law authorizes law enforcement to check the immigration status of a suspect who cannot provide an acceptable form of identification. But many officers lack the capability to check immigration status while out in the field.
Police departments and sheriff’s offices around the state are drafting guidelines spelling out what their officers can and can’t do under the new law, said Dale Mann, director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.
The law is among the strictest on immigration at the state level in the nation. On Thursday, a coalition of civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block the law from going into effect on July 1.
The coalition says that immigration is a federal matter, and that it will lead to profiling by law enforcement officials.
Mann led a training session Wednesday at Columbus State University to educate several dozen managers from law enforcement agencies around the state on new legal issues that affect them, including the immigration law.
Many attendees said they had just begun to look at the law that was signed by the governor in mid-May, and that Wednesday’s meeting was the first in-depth explanation they’d heard.
“I think we’re going to need to fully understand the law before we start to enforce it,” said Columbus police Chief Ricky Boren, who attended the meeting.
While the new law will authorize law enforcement officers to detain anyone they determine is in the country illegally and to turn them over to federal authorities, they cannot do so unless federal immigration authorities agree to accept the person, Mann said. Often, immigration authorities prefer to focus on felony offenders, he said.
Many meeting attendees said they didn’t believe the new law would significantly affect their agencies’ operating procedures.
“It seems like a lot of parts of this law are things that law enforcement currently has the authority to do,” said Athens-Clarke County police Chief Jack Lumpkin.
The new law also penalizes people who, during the commission of another crime, knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants and makes it a felony with stiff penalties to present false documents or information when applying for a job. Another provision set to be phased in starting in January will require many businesses to check the immigration status of new hires.
The Georgia measure’s law enforcement provisions are very similar to those in a law enacted earlier this year in Utah and also echo some parts of a law enacted last year in Arizona. All or parts of both those laws have been blocked by federal judges.
For that reason, Mann said he’s a little hesitant to push forward with aggressive training on the new law.
It’s important for managers of law enforcement agencies to be aware of what the law says so they can start adjusting or replacing their operating procedures, and it will be discussed at statewide conventions for police chiefs and sheriffs and will be incorporated into ongoing training for officers and deputies, he said.
“I’m going into this slowly because I know there’s going to be a constitutional challenge. And I don’t want to have to go back and unteach anything if parts of the law are thrown out,” he said. “I don’t even know that this law will be in effect a year from now or what it will look like.”
Birmingham AL Feb 4 2011 How many unauthorized immigrants — also known as illegal immigrants — live in Alabama?
The Pew Hispanic Center on Tuesday estimated that Alabama may have 120,000 unauthorized immigrants as of March 2010, double the estimate for 2005 and nearly five times greater than the estimated 25,000 in 2000.
But “may have” is the important qualifier — unauthorized immigrants are one of the hardest ethnic groups to count.
Numbers are more solid at the national level, Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer for the Pew Hispanic Center, said in a Tuesday national press conference.
As of March 2010, there were 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, down from a peak of 12 million in 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. Eight million of those immigrants were in the labor force, making up 5.2 percent of the country’s workers.
Passel said that 2010 number of unauthorized immigrants was virtually identical to the 2009 number.
“With these new estimates it seems that the decline (from 2007) has halted,” he said.
About 58 percent of unauthorized immigrants in the United States are Mexican.
Between March 2009 and March 2010, Passel said, 350,000 babies were born to families in which at least one parent was an unauthorized immigrant, and these children constituted 8 percent of all U.S. births in that period. Children younger than 18 of unauthorized immigrants number about 5.5 million, and about 4.5 million of them were born in the United States.
The Alabama numbers of unauthorized immigrants have large margins of error, because the numbers are developed from a nationwide Census Bureau survey for the Bureau of Labor statistics that contacts just 80,000 households, Passel said.
Alabama’s estimate of 120,000 unauthorized immigrants in 2010 — which would be 2.5 percent of the population — may actually fall anywhere from 75,000 to 160,000.
“We’d like to identify changes in the population more than we did, but we’re limited by the sample size,” Passel said. “We’d also like to analyze why these changes have occurred, but can’t.”
If the 120,000 Alabama estimate is in the ballpark, it was an increase from estimated unauthorized immigrant populations of 60,000 in 2005, 25,000 in 2000, and 5,000 in 1990.
Pew demographers also estimated that 95,000 of the unauthorized immigrants work in Alabama, making up 4.2 percent of the labor force.
While the new estimates suggest that the number of unauthorized immigrants in Alabama continued to grow from 2005 to 2010, it appeared that unauthorized immigrant populations may have leveled off in neighboring Georgia and Tennessee.
Georgia had about 425,000 unauthorized immigrants in 2005, according to Pew estimates, and the same approximate number in 2010. Tennessee had about 130,000 unauthorized immigrants in 2005 and about 140,000 in 2010.
The total number of foreign-born residents in the United States is much greater than the number of unauthorized immigrants.
“There are about 40 million immigrants living in the United States,” Passel said, “and unauthorized immigrants represent about 28 percent of the total.”
The 29 million legal immigrants include 14.9 million naturalized citizens, 12.4 million permanent residents and 1.7 million temporary migrants.
The vast majority of unauthorized immigrants in the United States are people who either entered the country without valid documents, or stayed later than the expiration date of a once-valid visa.
Nearly 30 deputies and investigators raided Great Western Erectors just after 4 p.m. Investigators searched for employment documentation and seized records relating to 28 suspected undocumented employees.
MCSO personnel were questioning about 13 employees. Officials said they expected more employees on site, but severe weather in Dallas delayed paycheck shipments, so many workers did not show up to collect their paychecks.
“We will follow up on this and see if we can track down those that were told not to come because of the paychecks,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
Tim McKnight, a supervisor for the company, has worked in the Phoenix area for the past three years.
“This is all kind of a surprise to me,” he said. “I know they check, they are real thorough about that,” adding that Great Western Erectors used E-Verify and made employees file new I-9 forms at the beginning of the year.
Ongoing investigations could lead to the arrest of nearly a third of the manufacturing company’s employees.
“It will hurt, but we have 200 applications right now,” McKnight said.
Investigators received a tip that the business employed undocumented immigrants from a former employee, officials said.
Deputies have also arrested two other employees on outstanding warrants unrelated to identity theft.
RICHMOND VA Aug 4 2010 — Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said Tuesday that he has spent months trying to reach an agreement with the federal government to train and deputize state troopers to act as immigration and customs agents to make legal status checks and refer individuals for deportation.
McDonnell (R), a former state attorney general who has helped several localities, including Prince William County, enter into similar agreements, said he expects to make an announcement soon.
“We’re working on that,” he told reporters at a news conference outside the state Capitol on Tuesday.
McDonnell’s comments came a day after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II issued an opinion that authorizes police to ask anyone stopped for any reason about his or her immigration status.
The governor said that he agreed with Cuccinelli’s opinion, which is similar to an opinion he issued in 2007, but that he lacked the legal authority to force local police to act.
“I think local law enforcement officials have had the authority for a number of years,” McDonnell told reporters. “We believe our state and local officers have the ability to make those inquiries . . . and turn them over for the appropriate proceedings.”
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who requested Cuccinelli’s legal opinion and subsequently wrote to McDonnell to codify the language in the opinion, said he hopes the ruling will give local governments the assurance that they are on “firm constitutional ground” if they choose to request that their law enforcement departments inquire about immigration more frequently.
“They could make this a priority,” he said. “This is a determination that elected officials have to make.”
A 2008 Virginia law requires that jail officials check the immigration status of everyone who has been arrested and taken into custody. Cuccinelli’s opinion does not require police to act, but it allows officers to check the status of those who are arrested, whether or not they are jailed, and to inquire about the immigration status of everyone who is stopped, including those pulled over for a traffic violation or at a police checkpoint.
In a statement, Cuccinelli insisted that his opinion “simply declares what is existing law.” Groups that have called for stricter enforcement of immigration laws expressed hope that police departments throughout the state will start routine immigration checks of motorists they stop. But an immigrant advocacy group warned McDonnell in a letter late Tuesday that it would sue if he directed law enforcement to investigate the immigration status of those who have been stopped.
As public attention focused on Cuccinelli’s opinion Tuesday, it remained unclear whether the legal advisory would result in any practical change.
Dana G. Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said Cuccinelli’s opinion offered advice, not a mandate. Local policies sometimes limit when police should ask about immigration. Some departments advise their officers to avoid asking about immigration during criminal investigations, which might discourage victims or witnesses from cooperating.
It was a clarification of where we are already,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson. “It says we can ask questions under certain circumstances. That’s the way we’ve already been doing business.”
Fairfax County will not have officers check immigration status during routine traffic stops, said Mary Ann Jennings, a police spokeswoman, although it’s checked after an arrest.
“It doesn’t say we should. It says we may; it says we can,” she said. “Fairfax County is not a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. But in terms of law enforcement, it’s vital to our success in the community to keep an open dialogue. We feel asking about legal status at every traffic stop would drive potential witnesses and crime victims away and destroy any relationship of trust that we have now.”
Arlington County police officers do not ask about citizenship status unless it’s relevant to solving a crime. Police do not arrest illegal immigrants for federal immigration violations and report them to authorities only under certain circumstances, including involvement in terrorism or gangs, conviction on a felony, or an arrest on a violent-felony charge.
“Citizens living or traveling through Arlington should not be worried that our actions will be changing,” said Detective Crystal Nosal, a police spokeswoman.
In Prince William, police occasionally run the type of traffic-stop checks Cuccinelli’s opinion said they could. Typically, an officer would check when a motorist can’t provide identification, police spokeswoman Kim Chin said. More often, only people who are arrested have their status checked.
“We aren’t looking for it,” Chin said. “If they don’t provide ID, then we check.”
Twenty-six states, including Maryland and Arizona, and eight localities in Virginia, including Herndon and Prince William and Loudoun counties, have the so-called 287 (g) status that deputizes local law enforcement.
McDonnell’s staff declined to release any documents on the state application with the federal government. Richard Rocha, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said he could not comment on pending applications.
“Since he was attorney general, the governor has supported securing 287 (g) authority for Virginia State Police and has assisted local officials in Virginia in their efforts to do the same,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. “The administration has been in communication with federal immigration officials over the past few months on several important initiatives to address the effects of crime committed by those illegally present in the commonwealth. We will make any official announcements on these efforts at the appropriate time.”
The Virginia State Police has 1,800 sworn agents, but it’s unclear whether it would affect all agents.
On behalf of Prince William’s police department and sheriff’s department, Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, sought and received 287g status in 2007 and 2008. Since July 2007, officers’ work has helped lead to the deportations of nearly 3,000 people.
“Virginia’s on a roll,” he said. “Clearly, everyone is joining in the fray and cracking down on illegal immigration. I really feel there is significant momentum.”
But Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) said the program will be a distraction for state law enforcement.
“This is federal problem,” said Surovell, who represents a district in which nearly one-third of the residents are foreign-born. “Our state has enough problems. We can’t even get the medians mowed. I think we should concentrate on core services.”
MIAMI Fla June 30 2010 — Local law enforcement officers throughout Florida now can access U.S. immigration records to check the fingerprints of immigrants in their custody, officials said Tuesday.
The system is part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “Secure Communities” program to improve and modernize the identification and removal of illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes in the U.S.
Including Florida, 23 states now participate in the program. The agency plans to make the system available nationwide by 2013.
Before the system was activated in Florida, fingerprints taken at local jails were checked only against FBI criminal records.
Now fingerprints also will be checked against immigration records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration authorities will be alerted automatically if there’s a match.
Within about four hours, authorities will begin to determine whether an individual in police custody is subject to deportation. If so, ICE will monitor the case. Illegal immigrants charged with major drug offenses, murder, rape or kidnapping will be flagged as priority cases.
If the person is convicted, ICE will assume custody when the prison sentence is complete.
Since fingerprints are unique, the system helps identify illegal immigrants who give authorities fake names, said Michael Meade, director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Miami. It also catches people who have been deported previously.
“This initiative ensures that our local law enforcement partners know as much as possible about the people in their custody,” Meade said.
It also lowers the cost and risks of pursuing these illegal immigrants on the streets, he said.
“We’ll identify the worst of the worst while they’re in jail,” Meade said. “The less that my officers have to go to somebody’s house to look for them, the safer they are.”
The system has been activated in 24 Florida counties since last year, and the rest of the state’s 67 counties were added last week.
One example authorities cited Tuesday was the case of a man arrested in Hillsborough County for carrying a concealed weapon, resisting an officer and providing a false name to law enforcement. Despite a long list of aliases, fingerprint records from Homeland Security showed that the man had overstayed a tourist visa and was wanted for attempting to murder a police officer.
The man was convicted in December on the concealed weapon charge and will be deported at the end of his yearlong prison sentence, authorities said.
The expanded fingerprint search was an overdue improvement to communications between local detention officers and ICE, said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Col. Jim Previtera.
The new system does not change current police procedures, nor does it cost more money, said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.
More than 1,800 immigrants convicted of crimes have been deported from Florida so far. Most were convicted of serious drug charges, assault, battery, murder, rape and kidnapping, authorities said.
Since ICE began sharing fingerprint information with local law enforcement officers in October 2008, the U.S. has deported more than 8,500 immigrants convicted of crimes such as murder, rape and kidnapping. More than 22,200 additional immigrants convicted of crimes such as burglary and serious property crimes also have been deported.
Phoenix AZ June 12 2010 Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies on Saturday served search warrants on two Sizzler steak houses in Phoenix suspected of employing illegal immigrants.
According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office, deputies were looking for approximately 25 workers who are believed to have used fraudulent identification to gain employment.
The restaurants are at 5060 W. Indian School Road. and 10460 N. 28th Drive, the statement said.
Investigators were tipped off by a former manager who claims he was fired by the restaurant for being unwilling to hire employees without proper identification, the Sheriff’s Office said in its statement.
He was reportedly offered three months severance for not going to law enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The managers had no comment on the raid.
Sheriff Arpaio said three of the 10 were located inside. Those arrested are suspected of using false social security numbers and documents in order to get work.
“We arrested people here for felonies, class four felonies, stealing people’s ID, phony identification,” said Arpaio.
The sheriff said this all started in January when his officer got a tip from a former manager at the store concerned that the company was hiring illegal immigrants. Investigators were able to confirm at least 10 workers were suspected of using falsified documents to gain employment. The sheriff said his deputies knew who they were looking for before they went inside.
“We know their ethnic background, because we have an inside source that gave us all the details on who they are. So, there’s no racial profiling going on here,” said Arpaio.
Yuridia Rodriguez showed up at the mall after her husband Angel was taken into custody. She said she is originally from Mexico City and is here in Arizona under a permanent resident card. Rodriguez said her husband has been in the U.S. for 15 years and is the breadwinner of the family.
“He’s worked. And he’s paid everything taxes and he’s a good man. He’s not criminal,” said Rodriguez.
Arpaio said his deputies will continue to look for the seven other suspects not found at the mall.