Skip to comments.Report: Police exceed rules on immigration questions
Posted on 04/15/2009 2:11:29 AM PDT by BykrBayb
New Jersey state, local and county police have abused a two-year-old directive that empowers them to question suspects in serious crimes about their immigration status, according to a study due out today. The findings, contained in a report by the Seton Hall University School of Law, conclude that police exceed their authority by questioning individuals involved in even minor infractions.
State Attorney General Anne Milgram issued the directive to determine the immigration status of suspects in major crimes in August 2007 following the execution-style slaying of three students in a Newark schoolyard. Among those charged was an undocumented immigrant from Peru who had previously been arrested in the United States.
The Seton Hall report is based on testimony from 68 people, collected by the law school's Center for Social Justice, and a review of the first 10,000 cases referred to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials by New Jersey police.
"Either no offense or only a minor offense was charged" in many of the forwarded cases, according to the report. Milgram's guidelines allow local police to inquire about citizenship, nationality, and immigration status only when a person is arrested for a felony crime or drunken driving.
In 60 percent of the cases studied, the individuals said they were stopped for minor violations such as rolling through a stop sign or drinking in public.
Of the 10,000 referrals to ICE, only 1,417 people were charged with immigration violations, the report states. In a third of the cases, ICE later said that those referred to the agency "may have been U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents," according to the report. All but three of the 68 cases involved individuals of Hispanic origin.
"The data suggests a disturbing trend towards racial profiling by New Jersey police who are questioning people about their immigration status for no apparent basis other than their driving or riding or walking while Latino," said lawyer Bassina Farbenblum, coauthor of the study, titled "Crossing the Line."
David Wald, a spokesman for Milgram, said the attorney general would review the report and its recommendations.
"We welcome the center's input, but we do question some of the conclusions," Wald said. "We have no information that police are arresting individuals just to enforce federal immigration laws."
The report cites a September 2007 instance in which a photographer for a Brazilian newspaper discovered a dead body in Newark. During the crime-scene investigation, a deputy police chief reportedly asked him and other employees of the paper about their immigration status.
A subsequent investigation by the Attorney General's Office concluded that the pointed questioning violated Milgram's directive.
"That deputy police chief was reprimanded," Wald said, adding that Milgram was serious about monitoring compliance with the directive.
Nelson Carrasquillo, director of CATA, a farmworkers support organization in Glassboro, said his group's members, most of whom are Hispanic, often are stopped by police, especially when their cars have out-of-state plates.
"If the documentation they provide is an out-of-state license," he said, they frequently are detained and questioned about their immigration status.
The Seton Hall report recommends that the directive be repealed or amended to clarify that questioning the immigration status of a suspect in a serious crime may occur only after an arrest "and should never form the basis for an arrest."
The report also calls for more training of police about what constitutes "a reasonable belief" that a person is an undocumented immigrant, and detailed, publicly available records documenting all instances in which local police have contacted ICE.
Contact staff writer Michael Matza at 215-854-2541 or email@example.com.
Does the right of privacy turn on the alleged wrongdoing? I thought privacy was privacy. What is private about immigration status anyway? Why cannot the police question anyone about immigration whom they otherwise are entitled to question? Cannot the government randomly question any taxpayer about his tax status? Do not these tax inquiries routinely expose the most intimate affairs of our citizens? Cannot the police question any driver about his drivers license status? The insurance on his vehicle? The registration of his vehicle?
If a policeman has a right to stop a citizen even for a petty offense, why can he not also questione him about his immigration status? If one distinguishes questions about drivers licenses because that is a "privilege" and not a right, what about ownership of a vehicle is that not a right and not a privilege? what difference do these distinctions make? What value is being preserved?
Why is there a culture which suggests that it is somehow improper for the police to enforce immigration laws while they are enforcing other laws? Why should a criminal who commits only petty crimes be immune from questioning about his immigration status when he would not be immune if he allegedly committed a more serious crime? How did these artificial procedural regulations become more important than the enforcement of the law itself? This is hardly a Miranda situation to prevent police beating confessions out of innocent subjects. This is merely a referral of someone who is or is not an illegal immigrant with an adjudication to follow de novo by a different federal agency.
We routinely allow police to question individuals on any number of grounds. Why is immigration status so sacred?
Why as our society come to the place where an Attorney General of a State utters a written directive to her law enforcement subordinates which effectively enshrines political correctness?
At the top congress and senate.
And forbids them to enforce the law.
I'm so glad you weighed in on this. As usual, you're eloquent, and bring out important, relevant and well thought out points.
Well there ya go. (In other news, Seton Hall Law students reported that all of the prison inmates they interviewed said they were wrongfully convicted.)
Even IF the gathered "facts" of the study are indeed factual, the conclusions drawn from them are non-sensical. ICE's failure to act on 90% of the referrals sent to it is hardly proof of legal status. If anything, it's evidence of willful ineptitude.
Obama would certainly favor that directive.
Even if they were stopped for minor violations, that is not racial profiling. I was once stopped for rolling through a stop sign. I wasn’t deported, but maybe that’s because I had a valid driver license, insurance and registration, and I spoke English.
I’m sure when you get pulled over for a traffic violation, by the time the officer comes to your window, he knows everything he needs to know about you. It’s unconscionable to give preferential treatment to illegal aliens by exempting them from the process that American citizens are subject to.
Under section 642(a) of IIRIRA, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.
Excuse me? Did Congress actually pass legislation beneficial to us? What’s the catch? Oh yeah, no enforcement.
Illegals on US soil are dual citizens who swear allegiance---first and foremost---to their home countries. We need to see the CATA's emails and cell phone records to determine when they get their orders from the Mexican government.
The frauds just keep on a-coming.....thanks to the conniving Mexican government.
Cong TOM TANCREDO relates his conversation with Juan Hernandez (Hernandez was McC's Hispanic outreach rep). Hernandez is a dual citizen and headed the Mexican govt's **Ministry of Mexicans Living in the United States. ** Hernandez said the purpose of the Mexican govt agency was:
(1) to increase the flow of Mexican nationals to the US to serve Mexicos needs;
(2) to increase transfers of $50 billion a year (30% of the Mexican GDP);
(3) to alleviate Mexican social instability, and,
(4) to get free training for Mexicans who are expected to repatriate the skills (paid for by US citizens) back to Mexico.
Hernandez supports amnesty. Hernandez told Tancredo: "By populating the US with millions of Hispanics who are tied economically, politically and linguistically to Mexico, we are able to exert enormous influence and pressure on U.S. policy and its dealings with Mexico."
Obama's treacherous plan to award US citizenship to illegals is a con game. Illegals are dual citizens, and swear allegiance to their home countries. THEY INTEND TO RETURN THERE----AFTER THEY DRAIN THE US TREASURY.
I hate to admit I am a graduate from there.
THE RIPOFF UP CLOSE Social Security provides outrageous government financial aid to "refugees" claiming "persecution." Keep in mind these people never paid a dime into the SS system; yet, they can collect seven years straight and can get extended payments if they are politically well-connected. The SS checks to these "persecuted refugees" can amount to $1000 a month and more. NOTE WELL Some of these suckups are wealthy people whining about "persecution", squatting on US soil, intent on draining the US treasury.
ACTION NOW Call your reps and demand these payments and the "persecuted refugee" classification be stopped. Call Congress 202-224-3121.
Espanola con artists have been planning the "drug war" for a long time-----as a way to sneak more Mexicans into our country. They whine as they sneak over our borders, crying "persecution," acting like "god's children looking for a better life." Doing menial jobs cheap is part of the con game. Now they are in high gear-----using scare tactics to alarm the US into getting involved---in order to get their hands on US tax dollars.
This is a Third World con game to drain the US treasury. They are usign the well-woen Mideat handbook: " How To Get the US To Pour Trillion$ Into Your Flea-Bitten Country."
The fact is Hillary and DHS' Napolitano are willing dupes of the Mexican governemnt----dutifully reciting latino agit-prop that "the US is exporting guns to drug cartels."
As one savvy FReeper posted: " I've been attending gun shows for over 20 years and have yet to find fully automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers or anything beyond one-round-per-trigger-pull available without a nosy (and expensive) Federal license. "
"The truly sad fact never reported is that the common Mexican citizens are deprived of effective firearms under their own laws - leaving the lawless, the corrupt and the government (and combinations of all three) the only ones armed. "
" The drug cartels and their bought-off authorities would never have run roughshod over a citizenry empowered by a 2nd Amendment like ours. "