July 03, 2007

Colorado State Patrol To Enforce Immigration

Doing the jobs Americans the Feds won't do:
The Colorado State Patrol has begun enforcing immigration laws.

A special unit of 22 members has finished a five-week training program and started their new duties. The patrol's Immigration Enforcement Unit is the first of its kind in Colorado and now has the authority to process and detain suspected illegal immigrants. Previously, only U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had the power to do that.

The state patrol said they will use their expanded authority mostly to target criminals who use the state's highways for drug-smuggling and human trafficking.

"Merely the fact that someone may be undocumented and in the country illegally is not going to trigger us to take them into custody alone," Sergeant John Oliver with state patrol said. "Our main focus is smuggling and trafficking of our criminal aliens, the real bad guys we really want to make sure we remove from the country."
Not perfect, but better than nothing, especially with the criminal enforcement. Now how about drunk drivers?

Not everyone is pleased, and fears of racial profiling are already emerging:
But not everyone's comfortable with what immigrant rights' groups see as the federalization of local law enforcement.

"We had a gentleman in Alamosa last week pulled over who was a U.S. citizen and he was pulled over because of the color of his skin," Julien Ross with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said. "And because he couldn't prove he was a U.S. citizen in that instance, he was taken to the immigration office where he later was released because he was a U.S. Citizen. This is that type of profiling and discrimination that we fear will occur now with the state patrol policies."
I can't entirely find fault with this concern, given the millions of legal residents and American citizens (including yours truly) who are of Hispanic/Latino/Mexican/Cuban extraction, and could easily find themselves a target should they forget their "documents" at a traffic stop.

What is most frustrating is the fact that Colorado State Patrol even has to take on such a responsibility. At most, with a proper Federal program in place, the CSP could play an auxiliary role, rather than front-line enforcement. Luckily these volunteers seem willing to enforce the Federal laws that the Feds themselves don't care to bother with--and the Federal government seems incapably incompetent of correcting this situation.

Labels: , , , , ,