Monday, July 26, 2010

The illegal dilemma

Illegal immigration is an incendiary issue in the United States these days.  Last week, I was correctly quoted (mainly) in a short news article that summed up a two-hour meeting I attended with the Mayor’s Multicultural Advisory Committee.  Partly through my own ill-chosen words, and partly through the filtering process that distills a long meeting into a few paragraphs, I felt as though my remarks and opinions were mischaracterized.  I’m not blaming anyone but myself, though, I am just trying to clarify.

The Committee asked me to explain what our practice was regarding notifying Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when an illegal alien was arrested or contacted.  They had become aware of a specific case, in which a 43 year old woman from El Salvador had been arrested for a misdemeanor by the police department, and subsequently became the subject of a deportation proceeding.  She had entered the United States legally in December, 2001 with a short-term visa, and was arrested by LPD for identity fraud after she tried to open a bank account under an assumed name with fake ID.

I explained that the fingerprint record of the arrest was submitted to the Federal government, as prints have been for decades.  In this particular case, the record matched an ICE database record on a person who had overstayed her visa by more than 8 years.  The existence of these databases, and the rapidity with which such comparisons can be made makes these kinds of matches much faster and more likely today than in the past.  We hadn’t gone out of our way to bring the weight of the Federal system down upon her at all—she merely was discovered by ICE in the ordinary course of business.  We did our job, ICE did theirs, and that’s the way it is supposed to be.

Some of the members of the Committee, however, had been concerned that the Lincoln Police Department had signed up for a Federal program by which selected local law enforcement officers are trained to initiate immigration proceedings, the Section 287 program.  We have not, and I am not interested in investing our resources in this manner. Having just lost 6 front line staff in the budget process, I assure you we have plenty to do without assuming work that is vested by the Constitution in the Federal government and is the statutory responsibility of a Federal agency.  In explaining this  to the committee, I said something to the effect of “I’m not interested in helping the Federal government do its job.”  Bad way to be quoted, although that is in fact what I said, or something reasonably close to it.  I was narrowly referring to signing up for the Section 287 program.

Let me set the record straight.  I appreciate the work of our Federal law enforcement agencies, and we work closely with them.  We both receive from, and render assistance to, Federal law enforcement agencies regularly—including ICE.  Every single fingerprint record we collect for arrestees is provided to these databases, and ICE is able to check any foreign-born subject against their database.  I think it is very important that we continue to do so, and I was correctly quoted on that, too.  I have never, ever, declined assistance to any Federal agency. 

This particular case is unusual, in that a women who—except for her obvious immigration violation--had otherwise been a law-abiding local resident got arrested for a fraud offense (I am told she needed an account for direct deposit from an employer, and was scared she would be caught by E-Verify), and  was quickly detained for an immigration violation by ICE.  My experience has been that trying to get someone deported is often a maddening process even when the subject has been arrested on multiple occasions and is is terrifying our community and  driving the local police crazy.  It takes a lot of time, and requires convictions for just-the-right-kind of crimes.  

What frustrates me the most about Federal immigration policy is that local police departments are being increasingly burdened by the intransigence of our Federal officials, who are failing to come to terms with the issue, and failing to provide sufficient resources to deal with it.  This women’s visa expired in February, 2002.  Why wasn’t the INS looking for her years ago?  She hasn’t exactly been in hiding.  How much more difficult is it to send her home nine years later than it would have been in the Spring of 2002?  How many other people have overstayed their visas by years, and how many of those have bought homes, had children, and otherwise sunk deep roots? 

I know this is a complex issue, without easy solutions.  But by continuing with the status quo, the day of reckoning is just being put off, and it gets harder with each passing day.  As States like Arizona, and cities like Fremont, Nebraska pass their own laws aimed at controlling illegal immigration, local police departments are being asked to fill the void created by the Federal government’s abdication of responsibility, and their under-resourcing of the effort.  This leave us between a rock and a hard place, and I don’t like that.

I have my own opinions on what might be done at the Federal level to begin to straighten this mess out.  My personal opinion is similar to proposals made in the past by President Bush and  by Congressman Tom Osborne.  Those weren’t exactly embraced even in their own political party, but I think they were more realistic than most, and would start us on a more productive path than the one we are on, which seems to be an aimless wander down a road to nowhere.


Anonymous said...

complex issue??????
In USA and should not be?
Then You go home!
complex issue??????

Herb said...

Chief: In the third paragraph, the sentence

"In this particular case, the record it matched an ICE database record on a person who had overstayed her visa by more than 8 years."

needs a little wordsmithing for me to understand, please.

Perhaps : "In this particular case, the record it matched (in) an ICE database record on a person who had overstayed her visa by more than 8 years." ?

Anonymous said...

Why do people, like this commitee you were in front of, have their knickers bunched up? I can't believe that we are so politically correct now that illegal activity is now considered protected as far as the media and Feds are concerned.
Even if LPD did send officer to training to ENFORCE the LAW, big deal! We already have laws to control this what we don't have is enforcement.
This has everything to do with legality and nothing to do with race. The fact that many/most illegals, sorry "undocumented" are latino is a matter of proximity. Don't call me a bigot because I expect everyone to respect the country they want to live in enough to go through the legal process like my grandparents did. The same people who left family behind, took jobs below their education level, learned english right away, took pride in the US flag, and fought for their new homeland.
I wonder if they would have hauled you in front of a committee had you accidentally found someone from the FBIs most wanted list, that would be helping the feds too.
Give me a break.

Steve said...


I think you need to retake English 101.. The chief's grammar (though not always perfect) is perfectly clear and proper in this instance.


I understand that your officers have plenty to do without making an extra effort to help the feds regarding illegal immigrantion. However, I would be disappointed to find that LPD was ignoring the issue as a matter of policy. If a LFO discovers someone is illegally in the country, the person should be detained and dealt with according to law, regardless of the juridsdiction of the officer (my opinion).

Anonymous said...

Learned english right away? It has always taken a generation at least. I remember farmers in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota speaking German almost exclusively before WWII.
All these "patriots" have selective memory.
Hispanics are not the first group to sneak into the U.S. The railroads were built with Chinese shipped in without papers.
When they put a quota on the Irish they came in through Canada and Mexico.
The Jews desperately trying to escape Hitler found ways to bribe their way here. Who could blame them?
We light the lamp beside the golden door and then we want to sit fat and sassy when people - who do more work than the trailer trash who scorn them - come here to give their family a decent chance.
Bigots. Yes you are.
Americans you are in name only.

Tom Casady said...


That sounds reasonable, but ICE won't detain illegal aliens except in very limited circumstances--such as this woman's arrest by LPD for identity fraud.

Don't think for a minute that ICE initiates deportation on every illegal alien that is booked into jail. They apparently do not have the resources to do so.

Anonymous said...

I imagined a drunken Yoda when I read 8:33's ramblings. Condescending they are. Delusional they be. Clever they ain't.

Anonymous said...

This quote stands out ". . .I am told she needed an account for direct deposit from an employer, and was scared she would be caught by E-Verify". . . .

In my opinion this will always be a problem when employers who hire these illegals have a financial incentive to do so. But to be fair it sounds like the employer in this case was trying to do things right.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Chief-As you understand it, what does the new Arizona law really accomplish? If an Arizona officer who has probable cause determines through further questioning that someone is an illegal, what happens next? Do they turn them over to ICE who then releases them back into the public? Do they incarcerate them and prosecute? Do they take them to the border and dump them off?

Seems to me we have a lot of consternation over a law that has yet to be enforced, and probably will have little effect other than causing illegals to flee to other states and bankrupt public entitlement programs in their new locale.

Pretty complex problem. The Arizona law is really just a symbolic measure and certainly will be impotent without federal government suppot.


NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

My Road Trip
Be assured it will not be through Lincoln Nebraska.
A city where the police chief does not uphold the law is NOT a place I would want not to be.
What part of "illegal" do you not understand?
Please feel free to visit our fine, delicate, desert environment and enjoy the wonderful sights.
Of garbage, human feces, discarded baby diapers, needles, drugs, oh, and be sure to wear your kevlar, you may need it if you run across the drug and human smugglers.
Visit the widow of the dead rancher, and see the sights of destroyed fences, maimed and killed livestock, and property damage.
Properties that are were valuable, after generations of people working the land, putting their hearts, souls and blood into that land.
Lands where their mothers and fathers lived, gave birth, died and in many families, are buried.
Better yet, leave maps to Lincoln for the illegal immigrants, I certainly will not need one.
You are welcome to it.

TCop said...

Sir, if you seriously fulfilled your oath of office, there would be no "dilemma".

Candy said...

Are you kidding me? Admittedly, police officers have a lot to do. Jaywalking to gangs, they do it all. But, you are required to deal with illegals the same way any other person has broken the law. Once a week, load up a bus and send 'em packing!

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

Law is not enforced by consensus of interested parties, It is enforced by competent law officers who realize that some may not like the law, but the law is the law.
The rivalry twixt federal/ state/county/city agencies is legendary, and true. However, there comes a time when these rivalries must cease to protect the populace which they supposedly serve. The competent law enforcement officer may not have the luxury of catering to specific interests. He or she does have the duty and responsibility to uphold the law.

Anonymous said...

Chief-This post defines our dilemna. On one side, if some poor girl gets deported you are given heat. On the other side, if you don't deport every illegal, you are given heat. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The reality is your readers, and most others, are barking up the wrong tree. This is a federal government issue. They aren't doing their job, and they are doing everything in their power, including filing lawsuits, to keep local law enforcement and state agencies from assisting them. End of story.

We've elected those federal officials.

I love Arizona. Maybe my next roadtrip will be there. Ms. RunningWolf, I empathize with you, and I support what your Governor is trying to accomplish, however it ends up. If the federal government continues to waffle on this topic, maybe the voters will wise-up and vote accordingly. But that is certainly not the issue for Chief Casady and the citizens of Lincoln. It's a great town. Slip on by.


Anonymous said...

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883

Anonymous said...

Chief: AZ's law simply enforces other existing laws. Currently, there is an exodus from AZ prior to this law going in to effect. Perfect.
If illegals in NB knew that any run in with the law (or bank), might get them deported, perhaps they too would leave NB. Not sure how much additional work it would create; again, consider the exodus in AZ before the law even goes into effect. Sounds like a reduced work load already.

Asking for "license, registration and proof of citizenship" should be standard. How can we let them walk all over us? Lawsuit from Mexico against AZ??? Evidently they feel entitled and we ENABLE it by not doing anyhting about it.

I don't know what your work load is, with budget constraints etc...
Think beyond the streets of Lincoln. Not defending our borders is un-American.

Anonymous said...

@ Emma Lazarus: I'm tired of "...your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning for a free ride"

Take your anchor babies and GTFO.

Tom Casady said...


If I read the Arizona SB1070correctly (and I have read it, the law creates a new misdemeanor State statute violation for an alien who does not carry his or her resident alien ID. I guess my question is whether ICE will detain for deportation every person arrested for this offense.

They sure don't do that in Nebraska for most misdemeanors. I note from the news coverage the ICE really isn't saying how they are going to handle this right now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should start having local cops check everyone's federal tax filings, too? After all, tax cheats cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars every year, and they would simply be enforcing an existing law. Does that make sense to all of you that claim "illegal is illegal"?

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

Many law officers in Arizona have the same reservations you have, Mr Cassidy. However, the problem has become so overwhelming. Once, the illegals came and went, or stayed quietly, melting into the culture, and adding their own beautiful and rich traditions with it. But things have drastically changed over the past few years. And this change WILL reach your jurisdiction, I promise you. When? I don't know, but it will come. No longer is it the poor, longing to be free, it is now the drug smuggler, the human smuggler, the sex traders. Coyotes killing or leaving behind those who hamper their progress. Taking all Identification with them. The families left behind never knowing what happened to their loved ones.Deeper in poverty than before that one left for streets paved, if not with gold, with at least asphalt,rather than goat dung. The rapes that occur among t he women who are being smuggled for slave labor, yes, maybe even in your city, sir. You would not even know. The young girls, some as young as 12 or 13, smuggled in for prostitution. Are all these crimes reported? Hell, no. If they were, it MIGHT be stopped. Other cities have uncovered these things, you will, too. Sooner or later. The point being is, that you CAN stop this before it gets to be the problem we have here. Do you think, at 70 years old, I WANT to sleep with a shotgun and a revolver by the head of my bed? And, no, I am not some crazed old teabagger that sees boogey men behind every bush. I am one tough old lady who has buried a few husbands, worked my land, and earned what little I have. I am not spooked by a few illegals slipping through in the night. I AM spooked by what is coming through now, and so should you be.
Just because I don't wear a badge doesn't mean I don't know legal from illegal. (Put one husband through POST, does that count?). I have never been detained because I did not carry a valid I.D.. A driver's license if I am driving, a SS card, valid picture I.D. of some sort. And I would have to do that whether I was pink, yellow, green or purple. Does not your agency expect some sort of valid I.D. when stopping someone for suspicious behavior?
You are right, ICE doesn't know what it is going to do. Perhaps if it had a few years back, we wouldn't be having this problem now. Federal law says illegal immigrants are illegal immigrants. I think ICE, the Federals, and the local law enforcement agencies need to put on their big boy panties and tend to this problem.

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

You are right, Mr. Cassady. ICE doesn't know what it is going to do. That should have been decided years ago, then maybe we would not behaving this problem now. The time was, that the occasional person who slipped through the border came and went, or stayed and became part of the culture, adding their own rich and beautiful traditions to it. That is no longer the situation. It is no longer the masses yearning to be free. It is drug smugglers, sex traders, and human smugglers. You may not have felt this up in your jurisdiction yet, but you will. You have the opportunity to nip it in the bud. I do not wear a badge, and I am but an old lady living in the desert of Arizona. Therefore you may, or may not discount my words. But believe me, stop this now, or you will not be able to stop it later.

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

Yes, anonymous, it does make sense. There are certain guidelines and procedures that IRS goes through. Believe it or not, sooner or later, the big tax cheats do get caught. If you know of such a tax cheat, please notify your local or nearest IRS office. They will be glad to help you. Incidentally, one of the biggest problems IRS has is illegals and stolen I.D.'s. and trying to collect income not truly earned by people such as yourself. Were your I.D. to be stolen, and income reported under your name, you would be jumping through some fancy hoops to prove it not so. Especially as most of it is reported on a 1099, and not a W-2. Meaning no taxes were taken out. The second one is coming up. Verifying all income for mortgage lenders so people cannot claim more income than they have to qualify for a loan. Thanks be, I am retired from IRS!!!

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. You have taken an oath to uphold and enforce the laws. If your oath was anything like the oaths taken by those in other departments around the country, then it also includes upholding the laws of the constitution. You have failed to do so on every account. Not only have you behaved in a negligent manner, but you have completely abandoned your oath by intentionally overlooking criminal acts. You are a disgrace to your department and your uniform.

Anonymous said...

8:33 AM

Perhaps it took your relatives a generation. Mine, who were NOT from Europe as you assume, did learn English right away. They did speak their first language at home but that's really no one's business. See, not everyone who reads this lives in or is from Nebraska.


Anonymous said...

They don't care about that stuff Norah. Drug trafficing, interstate prostitution rings and the like are all federal crimes. They don't have time to deal with the law down at LPD. They have traffic tickets to right. They can't be wasting their time with criminal cases.

Tom Casady said...


Did you fail to catch the part about the Lincoln Police Department arrresting this woman, and sending her prints to ICE???

Article I, Section 3 of that Constitution vests the power to regulate immigration in the Federal Goverment. I wish you would insist they would do so-rather than suggesting that the burden fall on my officers.

Anonymous said...

OK, Chief, we need a nice bar graph to lighten the mood.

First Bar=Number of Fingerprints sent to ICE

Second Bar=Number of those resulting in a "hit"

Third Bar=Number deported by ICE


Anonymous said...

3:26... you may not realize it but Emma Lazarus can't read your post, she has been dead 123 years.

"The New Colossus" is the poem she wrote for the Statue of Liberty.

It does not specify the "huddled masses, but only from western Europe, keep those that aren't white out" as you seem to want it to.

Our nation was formed on illegal immigrants. The only people who were NOT illegal were the aboriginal peoples that were here prior to the 1400s. Unless you are 100% aboriginal (indigenous) you are a descendant of an illegal immigrant.

You may also be interested to know that over 1/3 of the landmass of the contiguous United States was once part of Mexico before we attacked a weaker nation and took it from them... illegally.

I have no idea what an "anchor baby" is.. care to enlighten us? I am sure it is a racist remark.

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

Mr. Casady, you say:
Article I, Section 3 of that Constitution vests the power to regulate immigration in the Federal Goverment. I wish you would insist they would do so-rather than suggesting that the burden fall on my officers.

THAT, sir, is EXACTLY the point of the Arizona law. The Federal Government has failed the citizens of the United States, and the law agencies therein. Unfortunately, as you know probably better than other posters here, this is only one of the areas federal agencies have failed local and state entities. As an officer of the law, like it or not, it is your duty to enforce the law, and encourage you men to do so. The burden does unfortunately fall on you and your officers.
My opinion is the same as when I first posted.
the law is the law, And it must be upheld, and not as a discussion point with interested parties not involved in in law enforcement.
That point, I think, is what has us anti-illegal immigration people going.
Do you call a group of anti-traffic people together to discuss traffic tickets?
Therefor, it behooves law agencies such as yours to protect the citizenry. A sad fact of life.
You may choose not to do so, although you have done so in this particular case, reluctantly.
Which is not my business, as I do not live in your jurisdiction. However, I do live in an area in which this issue has had great impact. This will affect your area sooner or later. Now is the time to realize that coming problem.
But what do I know, I'm just an old a lady who lives way out in the desert, 25 miles from the nearest town, observing nature and humanity. I greatly prefer nature.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Norah, for the brief lesson in identity theft (although I will mention that plenty of born-here Americans are guilty of that crime), and for supporting my original point that the FEDERAL authorities should be tasked with enforcing the laws under their jurisdiction, and not our local police officers. I'll be sure to alert the proper federal authorities when I know that a federal crime has been committed, as per your suggestion.

Anonymous said...


Those so-called indigenous peoples are late-comers too, hoofing over what we know as the Bering Strait from NE Asia during a late ice age. Did you actually think that different races of humans spawned simultaneously at different locations on the planet? I don't even want to know where you got that wacky idea.

thinblueline said...

This is my second post. I am a retired copper and in retirement I happen to now work for one of the alphabet agencies involved in the immigration process but not ICE. In my prior life as a line Officer and later as a Detective, as it turns out I had a very simplistic view of immigration law. I have found that immigration law is an amazingly complex sector of law. The bottom-line from my view is that we have legislated ourselves into a complex corner with a myriad of laws. Far more complex, nuanced, and ludicrous than state and local statues. There is only one way to control our borders- militarization. Short of that, all else is folly.

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

So true, Thinblueline.
Anonymous, the Bering Strait theory is under serious reconsideration. There are other methods of migration, though the settlers in the far north may have come that way. I was taught the Creator gave us this land. There is proof we were here long before the anthros say we were. We were forced to learn English, As a survivor of the old boarding schools, I can tell you often the lessons were brutal. However, in learning that foreign language, I am now able to communicate with others. And we were the First Peoples. I would be more than happy to discuss that migration theory with you, however, you can also Google it.
The fact is that it is the past. Now is now. We no longer have the resources, the space, nor the legal immigrants coming here invited to fill the work force. Unless you have had your head in the sand, our unemployment rates are atrocious. So is the crime rate in the Tucson/Phoenix area.
I feel a bit sorry for Mr. Casady after reading these posts. I am not saying he doesn't deserve it, for the way he has handled the situation after the arrest, but I think he is not yet aware of the problems he will soon face, or his successor will face. I hope that he now has an inkling of public sentiment and why we feel this way. Unfortunately, he, too, in his position must bow to the political shenanigans that stalk this land. I wish him well, but he will need much more than my wishes. He has to face his community now, and when that fickle tide changes, he, or his successor, will also face it. But he will be the one who gets the dung heaped upon him. There is always the scapegoat in the past.

Anonymous said...

"I have no idea what an "anchor baby" is.. care to enlighten us?"

Is your search engine out of order, or don't you know how to google a couple of words? It's really easy; you just go to, enter those two words in the box, then hit enter! It's the neatest thing.

Zen said...

Anonymous 10:34- There is no such thing as an 'anchor baby'. The presence of a child does NOTHING legally for the illegal immigrant. Not an iota. The child can't even sponsor the parents until they reach the age of 21. The parents are still legally unprotected and subject to deportation. What, exactly, are you upset about here, other than 'nothing'?

"The term "anchor baby" assumes that having a US citizen child confers immigration benefits on the parents and extended family. This is generally a false assumption, as immigration law does not allow a US citizen child to sponsor his parents until he or she turns 21. Once the child turns 18, immigration law also allows a US citizen child to sponsor his own siblings with a 15 to 23 year quota delay. Immigration law does not provide categories for any other relatives that would apply in this situation. In addition, if the parents are illegal immigrants, they are usually barred from immigration despite having a sponsor"

"Immigration and Nationality Act". Department of Homeland Security, USCIS. Retrieved May 29, 2010.

"Department of State Visa Bulletin". May 29, 2010.

Interestingly enough, legislation to repeal birthright citizenship has been repeatedly submitted over the years (most recently in 2008-H.R. 1940, the "Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007) and usually never makes it out of committee. George Bush II and John McCain didn't support the last round of it, either. D-Tom Perrilio noted that when similar legislation was submitted during Republican controlled sessions of Congress it never went anywhere, either.

Anonymous said...

You are right, we should insist that the federal government enforce the law. That does not remove the responsibility from your office, however, to keep your citizens safe from the woes of illegal labor in your city. I'll also point out to you that it is a direct violation of the U.S. Criminal Code for any public official to create policies that allow for a sanctuary or safehaven for those who are in this country illegally. Your stand off position is in direct contradiction to the law that you are sworn to uphold.

I'm still curious as to how you have labeled an illegal alien as a "law abiding citizen", when they were arrested for using someone else's identity to fraudulently open a bank account. We have a very different idea of what the term 'law abiding' means, and you clearly don't have the slightest clue as to what the word "citizen" means. You should resign from your job and let someone step in who is willing to do their job.

Katie said...

"This particular case is unusual, in that a women who—except for her obvious immigration violation--had otherwise been a law-abiding local resident got arrested for a fraud offense (I am told she needed an account for direct deposit from an employer, and was scared she would be caught by E-Verify)..."

Maybe ICE couldn't find her because she was an identity thief living under an assumed name! AND IN YOUR jurisdiction no less!

So let’s get ALL the facts straight..

She is an identity thief.
She is in the country illegally.
She is working in the country illegally.

BUT as the Chief puts it "had otherwise been a law-abiding local resident"

That is like saying "except for the drugs he was taking, the drugs he was selling and the cars he steals to buy said drugs" "had otherwise been a law-abiding local resident"


Does your department look the other way for other FEDERAL crimes? OR IS IT JUST ILLEGAL ALIENS????

SO a kidnapping across state lines you don't want to get involved with cause “I’m not interested in helping the Federal government do its job.”


Tom Casady said...


You can bust my chops for my poor choice of words in the quote in the paper, but you are getting rather ridiculous now.

"Otherwise law-abiding" means just that: except for overstaying her visa (something we had no knowledge of whatsoever) and the case of identity fraud for which we arrested her, she had no other criminal violations during the 8+ years she resided here after overstaying her visa.

She was not hiding out under an assumed name. You could have looked her up and knocked on her door. Maybe its just me, but I would think the INS would have come looking for her clear back in early 2002, within a few weeks of her visa expiration.

Kidnapping is a State crime. Illegal use and possession of narcotics is a State crime. Our arrests in such cases are for the State statute violation. Many (but not all) criminal violations of the United States Code are also covered in the State Statutes. Federal prosecution generally occurs if and when the United States Attorney takes interest in a case and makes a presentment to a Federal Grand Jury which returns an indictment. It's not the same as shoplifting, or burglary, or robbery, or DWI, where the case generally begins with an arrest and the filing of an information by the County or City Attorney. There is no State crime for overstaying your visa. If she has committed a crime by doing so, it is up to the Federal prosecutors to seek Federal charges in Federal courts.

Finally, did you entirely miss the part the WE ARRESTED HER, and sent her prints to ICE? I think it is apparent that (despite my foot-in-my-mouth quote) that we are helping the Federal government, but it is up to them to take the next step in these cases, and that's the part that I do not have the authority to do for them. No matter how much you berate me, I can't deport people. I can't charge people in Federal District Court. The Feds have got to do their job, if you expect people like this to be detained for immigration violations and deportation proceedings to be initiated.

Only about half the people who are on Immigration holds in our local jail are actually taken into custody by ICE when they are ready to be released for their State or local charges. They only do so in certain categories of cases, and for certain convictions. I assume that this is primarily a matter of the limited resources they have, and the constraints they must work with in Federal immigration law.

I do not blame ICE for this. My perception is that they do what they can with the resources they have. It appears that they must prioritize which illegal aliens will receive their attention, and which will be largely ignored. As I tried to make clear in my post, there are far worse criminals who I'd like to see ICE focus upon, if they have to pick and choose.

In my simple little world, there is an INS agent who gets a print out on February 23, 2002, telling him that this woman's visa expired yesterday and that she has not exited the country. The agent takes that list, and starts trying to find her. If she is still in the country due to an illness, injury or similar hardship, the INS agent helps her to file for an extension. If not, the agent detains her for the immigration violation and deportation proceedings are initiated. She can have her day in court and convince the judge that she should be allowed to stay.

If she is not at the place she is supposed to be staying and cannot be found, a warrant is sought for the relevant criminal violation of United States Code, and the name is entered into the National Crime Information Center database of wanted persons--so any police officer having contact with her has a nice clear legal basis for an arrest on the outstanding warrant. If and when she is arrested, deportation proceedings are initiated.

tspuckhead said...

Sometimes I wonder if half of you read the post or just see the subject and go from there.

I do not pretend to be an expert in this area. My understanding is this...when the arrest of an illegal is made, ICE is aware of the situation. In case you are not aware, Federal Law takes prescendence over local/state law (one of the reasons laws such as the recent Arizona Law and Fremonts Law are falling under fire). LPD doesn't have a "bus to drop them off at the border" in. Not to mention, even illegals are granted due process. Sooo...even if local law enforcement agencies want to prosecute/enforce the immigration laws, they cannot. Prosecution/deportation falls under Federal Statutes/jurisdiction, not local ones.

This has been an ongoing problem for years and years and years. Believe me, business does not want these laws enforced, they would be out of cheap labor. Not to mention, that cheap labor is the prime reason the amount of your income you spend on groceries is one of the few things that has declined over the years. So scream all you want, but if they suddenly tomorrow had the ability to send them all home...your ability to grill a steak in the coming weeks would be greatly reduced.

I also would challenge each of you to take a look at our Immigration process. It's nearly impossible to navigate. Trying to legally immigrate to this country is damn near impossible (I had a friend a couple years back trying to immigrate here from New Zealand, and the immitration lawyer we spoke with basically said it wasn't possible). Go have a look at their website...if you can figure it out, more power to you. Does that mean that people should walk accross the border illegally, of course not. But it's hard to try and do it the right way, also.

This is an issue that needs to be dealt with in SOME way soon. Arizona's Law is a states reaction to having their hands tied and watching their state become akin to a war zone with the things Norah described. And it WILL move to other areas. But its not as cut and dried as "send them all home".

Yelling at the Chief isn't going to help, either. Your anger would be better directed at your Federal Representatives, who keep letting it slide.

(Sorry so long...)

Anonymous said...

The name of the Federal agency is no longer INS-It is USCIS-United States Citizenship and Immigration Services-just had to clarify! :)

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

Not to defend the chief. Hell no! He knows how I feel.
However, in the past, illegals came and worked. Made too little money to pay taxes, but still tried to do right by their kids. They did pay sales tax, and of course, by paying rent, they also paid, 2nd hand, property taxes. Law abiding citizens that contributed t o the community, except they were here illegally. Their American born kids grew up, married Hispanic or Anglo and melded into the population. I am old enough to remember those times.
But then came the drug problems, the humans smuggling and slavery, yep, no other word for it, and the lax borders, and, and , and on ad nauseum.
Now it is stuff like this.
That is the first of the series. I do hope the chief has time to look at it.
However, politicians are owned by corporate, corporate likes the cheap labor and no benefits. If you think our prices are lower because of cheap labor, I think you are mistaken.

Tom Casady said...


I used INS intentionally, because I think that was still the correct acronym in February, 2002 when the visa expired.

I learned today that ICE is now USCIS, and I'll try to use that acronym in future posts.

The Federal alphabet soup is pretty exasperating for those of us who work in agencies that have had the same name for over 100 years, but I'm trying.

Anonymous said...

Those that are bashing the Chief for his comments... I am curious, how would you expect him to handle any illegal immigrant issues?
What I am reading here is tantamount to racial profiling. Should the police pull over anyone that "looks" like they might be illegal? Is that what you suggest?

I just don't get how people can bitch in one post about the police needing to do less things that are "unimportant" in your mind (the "purple dildo" incident) and "wasting taxpayer money" but then in another breath demand that the police do what is
1) impossible with the current budget (trying to find every illegal immigrant in our community)
2) impractical (even with an unlimited budget it would not be something doable
3) probably illegal (racial profiling)
4) not something that is even under the purview of local law enforcement (enforcing a federal law, which is supposed to be handled by the US Government)

Watchful said...

To simplify... (I hope)

Have you ever driven down the Interstate and been subjected to a lane closure? You know the ones I mean, cut two lanes down to one... five miles after the cones begin, you see three or four trucks and a handful of guys working on a guardrail on the shoulder, not even using the closed lane then another five miles of cones before the road is opened to two lanes of traffic.

The reason the road is closed for such an extended area is because they have lots to do in a large area and have limited resources to close the lanes JUST in the area where they are working.

This is rather how I see the immigration issue. There is known work to do and there is little in the way of manpower to handle all the work.

Should there be better enforcement concerning immigration laws? I believe the answer across the land is a resounding yes. At the same time, as Chief Casady has offered albeit circuitously, local law enforcement efforts are wasted if they arrest an illegal, put him in jail and USCIS chooses not to deport the person. This represents costs to taxpayers for time everyone spends on the case as well as housing costs in the jail.

Even within this blog, the Chief has intimated that he thinks more should be done to curb the problem but his hands are effectively tied. Doing all they could do in the case of this woman using the identity of someone else, meant they shared her fingerprints with the feds, shared the reason she was arrested and, after tripping an alarm on whatever algorithmic formula they use, they (the feds) choose to deport her.

Watchful said...

The Arizona law has some items which are questionable about how officers can demand proof of legal residency. Fremont's do not. Fremont has carefully chosen to adopt the exact same laws which are already on Federal books. What Fremont has done is added this to be able to fine business owners and landlords if they employ or offer housing to illegals. The burden is not on law enforcement to verify legal residency status, but individual business and property owners.

This makes it easy for me to support the Fremont law. Much like the road closure analogy, this law repairs the problem of not enough manpower to address the task at hand. It focuses attention at the point closest to the heart of the issue of what illegals require, income and shelter. The law brings the issue to a level where local government has some sharp teeth that they could not use with the current lack of Federal support and enforcement.

If a business owner or landlord can afford the fines imposed by the local jurisdiction, they will allow these people to come. If not, the people will have to look elsewhere until they find someone who will. If Fremont's laws pass purview tests in higher courts, other cities will likely adopt them, making it much more difficult of immigrants to find work or housing without going through the legal process.

Is this the way the federal law should be enforced? No. But since something is better than what we have now to discourage illegal residency, it will do for now. If it passes muster in court, I think Lincoln will adopt it too.

NorahChristine RunningWolf said...

I followed the political leanings across the board and the issue of race seems mainly rooted in those who want open borders and amnesty. It's a matter of law, not race. Have you ever listened to some of the more radical La Raza speeches? They want you gone, no matter if you're Native Indian (whom they don't consider a part of their People) or white or black. They don't mind you being dead to achieve that. Not all, but there are very radical elements in La Raza and Aztlan.
As radical as Al Quada.
Amnesty doesn't work. Reagan tried it with the provision the border would be secured. It didn't solve the problem. The borders were not secured. The only way to stem the flow of human traffic, drugs and smuggling is to stop dangling the carrot of free services in front of illegal aliens. The government has long pretended to worry over the border problem, but like a bad parent, they continue to reward sneaking into this country with welfare, free medical care, social security benefits, WIC, AFDC, free school, free breakfast and lunch and food stamps. Why would they stop coming? Why would a fence matter? Why would armed guards matter? They'll find a way over, under or around as long as we continue with the anchor baby farce and freebies. And any fence or armed guards that can keep people out, can keep people in.
Equal justice does not mean some are more equal than others. To eradicate real racism, we have to uphold equal justice and let the law work to punish those who really do commit racists acts. But we can't use racism anymore as a tool for some groups to get what they want. It's time we all embrace one another as brothers and sisters, fellow Americans, regardless of race, creed or color or political view, and work toward not allowing ourselves to be controlled by spurious claims of racism.
I stand by my long-held belief that there are more good people than bad, but what I see happening is 'divide and conquer'. Everyone is being pitted against another and this has been going on for a very long time. It didn't just start with this administration or the one before or the one before that. We're facing a showdown that has been orchestrated over many years and my concern is that history repeats itself. I'm willing to stand between disaster and an innocent who may hate me because of the color of my skin or my political leanings, but has committed no crime. Equal justice, not social justice.
Sorry for long windedness.