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David Griffith

David Griffith

David Griffith has been editor of POLICE Magazine since December 2001. He brings more than 25 years of experience on magazines and newspapers to POLICE. A Maggie award-winning journalist, his byline has appeared on hundreds of articles in POLICE and other national magazines.



Melanie Basich

Melanie Basich

Managing Editor Melanie Basich joined POLICE Magazine in 2000 (when her last name was still Hamilton). An award-winning journalist, she has covered such topics as agency budgets, officer suicide, emerging law enforcement technologies, and active shooter tactics. She writes and manages the product section of POLICE.
Editor's Notes

Obama Administration Orders Sheriffs to Coddle Illegal Aliens

July 10, 2009  |  by - Also by this author


President Obama speaks to a crowd in Austin in February 2008 on his way to the presidency. Photo via jmtimages (Flickr.com).

To live outside the law you must be honest
Bob Dylan

I have always interpreted this line from the song “Absolutely Sweet Marie” to be a good bit of advice for people on the lam. If you’re wanted for something, keep your nose clean.

It’s probably good advice for the illegal immigrant as well. When you sneak into a country and live in an underground culture and work in an underground economy, it’s a good idea to keep law enforcement officers out of your life.

Unfortunately, this no longer applies to illegal immigrants. Many large municipal and county law enforcement agencies have regulations and restrictions that prevent their officers from checking immigration status when responding to a call. The thinking here is that if officers check immigration status of people who need their help, the odds are illegal immigrants won’t call officers to help them. Grudgingly, I have to admit that this makes sense. We don’t want people being victimized by criminals just because they are illegal aliens.

But some cities and counties have taken this way too far. They don’t investigate a person’s immigration status even when they have committed an infraction or even a violent crime. And that’s just plain dangerous for all cops and all Americans.

If an illegal alien commits any further infraction of the law—beyond the federal misdemeanor of sneaking into the country in the first place—and comes on law enforcement’s radar, he or she needs to be deported in order to protect the American public. By committing multiple offenses that illegal alien is telling all of us that he or she doesn’t respect any of our laws.

Getting these dangerous people off the street and out of the country is the goal of Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Enacted in 1996, this law lets the Department of Homeland Security work with state and local law enforcement agencies. Specifically, it authorizes federally trained local law enforcement officers to perform immigration enforcement duties.

In recent years, dozens of really smart sheriffs across the country have been using 287(g) to check on the immigration status of people in their jails. Detainees who are illegally in the country are turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation.

The Bush administration—even with its horrible record on advocating immigration enforcement—supported 287(g).

The Obama administration?

Not so much.

Administration officials say they are reviewing the program because of overcrowding in federal detention facilities. But even if that’s true, it’s a smokescreen for a much larger agenda.

The Obama administration basically sees the illegal immigrant population as a semi-permanent constituency for the Democratic Party, much the same way the party views African Americans.

So anything that upsets illegal immigrants, upsets Obama and his lieutenants. That’s why DHS is now ordering some sheriffs to release illegal immigrants detained under authority of 287(g).

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the sheriff of Davidson County, Tenn. (Nashville) has been directed to release illegal aliens detained on “minor” charges on their own recognizance. This is a repeat of the disastrous “catch and release” immigration enforcement concept where detained illegal aliens are issued a request to appear in court for a deportation hearing and set free. The overwhelming majority are not stupid enough to show up for their hearing.

Now granted some of these Tennessee inmates were pulled in for fishing without a license and other infractions rather than offenses. Some would say that means they have been the target of "overzealous enforcement" by Davidson County deputies. However, my take on this is that if they want to live in America, they need to obey our laws or go home.

And let’s be clear here, not everyone detained under 287(g) is in jail for spitting on the sidewalk. The most common offense of most illegal aliens held under this program is drunken driving.

The Charlotte Observer reports that since the 287(g) program was instituted in Mecklenburg County, N.C, 6,300 illegal immigrants have been turned over to ICE for processing. Out of that number, 1,523 were pulled for DUI. Drunk driving by illegal aliens has a special resonance in the Charlotte area; the city has seen whole families wiped out by these idiots. Now, are all drunk drivers in Charlotte illegal aliens? Absolutely not. But we know that 1,523 of them are. And they need to be on the next bus to where they came from.

Despite such benefit to public safety, 287(g) is under fire. Immigration-rights groups say the process is unfair and inhumane. And a recent congressional report says it is netting minor offenders, not serious criminals. Congress is, of course, bowing down to the all-powerful Hispanic voter.

I have news for Congress, I don’t know many Hispanic citizens (read: voters) who want us to keep illegal alien scofflaws in the country. They are, of course, more sympathetic to law-abiding illegal aliens.

Oh, and by the way, the Charlotte Observer (a very liberal paper) also reports that roughly 10 percent of the people turned over to ICE by Mecklenburg County’s 287(g) program were felons. That’s more than 600 criminals who are no longer victimizing the people of Charlotte and surrounding communities.

Despite what the Obama administration believes, isn’t the goal of enforcing all laws to enhance public safety and benefit?

So maybe that poor illegal alien in Tennessee picked up for fishing without a license deserves some sympathy and mercy. But let’s remember, he broke the law coming into the country in the first place and then he was ignorant of or dismissive enough of our laws to get caught fishing without a license.

And ultimately, he broke the most important rule of living underground; he didn’t keep his nose clean.

Tags: Barack Obama, Illegal Immigration, Immigration Enforcement


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

cozadjoh @ 7/21/2009 3:39 PM

And "BS" like this is what keeps radical organizations like the KKK going strong and getting stronger.

detmac135 @ 7/21/2009 5:30 PM

Are you kidding me? If you are illegally in this country and you violate other laws on top of it. You need to be deported back to your own country as soon as you spend your time in jail or prison for the crime you committed in this country. It is BS that the president or his Peeps are telling us to let them go on a citation. What a joke!

elitehunter1$ @ 7/21/2009 7:53 PM

Its amazing this program is underfire.

By scratching this program you are ultimatly protecting the criminals. Dont worry if you are here illegally, no big deal, OH and if you want to break a few laws while you are here thats ok too.

Come on now, how is it even a question. 287(g) is much needed in our system.

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