Patterico's Pontifications

11/20/2007

ICE Overwhelmed by Referrals from North Texas 24/7 Criminal Alien Program

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:18 pm



[Guest post by DRJ

I’ve previously written here and here about the success and popularity of the Irving, Texas, 24/7 Criminal Alien Program. The program is designed to identify criminal aliens and turn them over to federal authorities for identification and, if appropriate, deportation.

The Dallas Morning News reports that, due to an overwhelming response, ICE has instructed Irving and other area cities to cease referrals of illegal immigrants who are charged with Class C misdemeanors like speeding, assault, public intoxication and hot checks:

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in North Texas will no longer detain most illegal immigrants arrested for Class C misdemeanors, citing a dramatic increase in referrals and limited resources. The agency began notifying area cities this week that it wants to target suspected illegal immigrants charged with more serious crimes for deportation.

Dallas ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said Tuesday increased awareness of the Criminal Alien Program has led to a recent spike in the number of referrals the agency receives from local law enforcement agencies. “These additional referrals required additional resources not immediately available,” said Mr. Rusnok, whose office covers 128 Texas counties and all of Oklahoma.

ICE officials are directing local law enforcement agencies to refer people suspected of being in the country illegally if they have been arrested for Class B misdemeanors or more serious crimes. The agency will continue to look at those arrested for Class C misdemeanors if, for example, the person is in possession of a firearm, has an immigration warrant or a criminal record involving a Class B misdemeanor or more serious crime.
***
Irving officials estimate that 60 percent of the more than 1,700 suspected illegal immigrants they have turned over to ICE for deportation since last year faced only Class C misdemeanor charges. Such charges include speeding, assault, public intoxication and hot checks. The penalty for Class C misdemeanors is a fine not to exceed $500.”

Hispanic activists see this as a victory:

“Today it’s a big celebration for all immigrants that the CAP program is going to be revised and that illegal immigrants in Irving will not be deported for traffic citations,” said Carlos Quintanilla, who has gained media attention for organizing rallies in opposition to the program. “That means our fight has been a great fight.”

He said his attorney plans to file a lawsuit this week challenging the constitutionality and disparity in how CAP is implemented.”

Enforcement advocates expressed frustration:

” State Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, said Texas and other border states are frustrated that the federal government is not following through on its job. “If we’ve identified illegal immigrants, especially if they’re committing crimes, it needs to be dealt with,” said Mr. Paxton, who is also on the board of directors for the Texas Conservative Coalition. “They’re not supposed to be here.”

Farmers Branch Mayor Pro Tem Tim O’Hare said ICE’s change in policy is telling. “The first thing I think it tells you is how many people who are here illegally break other laws, other than just being in the country illegally,” Mr. O’Hare said. It’s also indicative of the large number of illegal immigrants in the Dallas area, he said.”

This is a good news/bad news story. It’s bad news that ICE won’t cooperate with local authorities to deport criminal aliens but the good news is the increase in cities that are participating in the federal Criminal Alien Program.

— DRJ

19 Responses to “ICE Overwhelmed by Referrals from North Texas 24/7 Criminal Alien Program”

  1. See? ICE supposedly doesn’t even have the resources to deport the illegal alien criminals.

    So the debate over whether to deport all illegals is kinda neither here nor there, until that’s fixed.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  2. This county needs a Sheriff Joe!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. Who will increase taxes to pay for more ICE? I know I know, we should eliminate waste and fraud in other agencies etc.etc. but right now, for now, who will ask for and pay a tax increase… just for these guys.

    EdWood (5fd14b)

  4. #1
    On that point I agree with you 100%

    voiceofreason (f5f89c)

  5. Who will increase taxes to pay for more ICE?

    As I have suggested, they could redirect resources away from deporting hardworking illegals and target the criminals.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  6. They are deporting the criminal aliens — its a matter of prioritization.

    “Lack of resources” is a euphamism for lack of beds. The only place to put these illegals are detention centers, and those are maxed out. The bottleneck in the system is the hearing process. It takes months to get a detainee through a deportation proceeding. Once the detention center is full, the Immigration Judges have to make decisions about who to keep and who to release on bail.

    And we’re right back to where we were before.

    wls (a6fede)

  7. WLS,

    We had (and continue to have) that problem in the Western District of Texas but things improved when they hired more Magistrates and spread them out throughout the district. We also have Greyhound-type BP buses that run constantly ferrying deportees to Mexico and numerous short-term detention facilities. It’s amazing how many people you can process if you put your mind to it.

    The federal agents in the Northern District of Texas need to put their minds to it.

    DRJ (973069)

  8. DRJ,
    Just out of curiousity what are they doing in west Texas to discourage businesses from hiring and how effective does the strategy seem to be?

    voiceofreason (f5f89c)

  9. #5 Patterico

    Is a person who commits a Class C misdemeanor not a criminal? And whats an example of a Class C misdemeanor for a non-lawyer?

    chas (98fe7b)

  10. Is a person who commits a Class C misdemeanor not a criminal? And whats an example of a Class C misdemeanor for a non-lawyer?

    Such charges include speeding, assault, public intoxication and hot checks. The penalty for Class C misdemeanors is a fine not to exceed $500.

    They are criminals, but hardly what I’d call “hardened”.

    But Criminals none the less. Boot them the hell out.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  11. Who will increase taxes to pay for more ICE? I know I know, we should eliminate waste and fraud in other agencies etc.etc. but right now, for now, who will ask for and pay a tax increase… just for these guys

    well, you could start slapping surcharges on all remittances to “countries of interest, i.e., mexico.”

    As I have suggested, they could redirect resources away from deporting hardworking illegals and target the criminals.

    i take patterico’s point here, and I agree that if we have insufficient resources to enforce federal law in, for example, north texas, those resources should be prioritized along the lines he suggests.

    but that’s the problem, isn’t it?

    we don’t have the resources to execute the will of the american people in north texas.

    yes, i am willing to pay extra in taxes, at least temporarily, if it means restoring federal control of Dallas and environs. yes, i am willing to pay extra in taxes to deport persons guilty of committing crimes on U.S. soil. and yes, i believe that even hardworking persons who commit misdemeanors in this country, having already entered it illegally, even if those misdemeanors are as innocent as identity theft and fraud, forgery, and so on, are worth the kind attention of federal authorities.

    call me old-fashioned.

    jdub (cd4728)

  12. Patterico #5 Yes. You were somewhere near the end of your deport the criminals first posts when I started visiting your site regularly.

    EdWood (5cf30c)

  13. VOR #8,

    I think the short answer is that it varies in each community. In my area, if a small business wants to hire illegals, it can probably get away with it in the short-term but not in the long-term and/or not without great risk. Thus, it’s primarily done by fly-by-night organizations or people who hire someone off the street to do a short-term job at their home or business. I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t happen – I’m sure it does – but the penalties are substantial so most employers are careful about checking employees’ paperwork.

    There’s a problem with illegals who use fake documents. I don’t know how common it is or what businesses do to discover fraud. There are programs designed to uncover employees who use fraudulent documents, especially in the oilfield where it’s most likely to occur in my area, but I don’t know any details or how effective the programs are.

    It used to be common to find illegals working in landscaping and as janitors in office buildings. It may still be but it isn’t in the building I work in. I don’t know if it’s due to stepped-up enforcement or the immigrants choice. Things changed about 2 years ago, possibly due to enforcement, but before that the janitorial staff would work for 6-18 months and then go home to Mexico until their money ran out. Then they would come back to the US and repeat the cycle, often at the same job. In my experience, they see themselves as Mexicans who sometimes work in the US.

    DRJ (973069)

  14. DRJ,
    Thanks for taking the time to answer. Just my opinion but a national ID card is one of the steps we really need to take (and one database for driver license info) to give employers a better means of enforcing the law. Privacy advocates are opposed to that idea though.

    voiceofreason (f5f89c)

  15. I’m in favor of a National ID but I think people will still find a way to circumvent it. That’s why I also favor a fence, enhanced border security, and continued border and workplace enforcement.

    DRJ (973069)

  16. True. It is going to take a combination of measures to get it done effectively.

    voiceofreason (f5f89c)

  17. DRJ – thats a fair description of DFW also. a short-term visa program for those who work just part of the year in the US might not be a bad idea. except of course the employers dont want the illegals getting any sort of legal status. just makes payrolls go up. in about a week or two you’ll notice construction jobs slow to a crawl due to many of the workers going back to the mexico for christmas.

    chas (98fe7b)

  18. Yes let’s put a major tax on Mexican visas, money transfers, immigration lawyers, and tax immigration groups. Then lets tax MoveOn, ACLU and impose 7 figure fines on people convicted of voter fraud; illegal campaign contributions (soliciting, donating and receiving).

    Lets finance ICE with those who make it necessary.

    Finally, impose a mandatory 10,000 dollar fine on all individuals who assist illegal aliens.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  19. Finally, impose a mandatory 10,000 dollar fine on all individuals who assist illegal aliens.

    Isn’t this already on the books? Shouldn’t we just start enforcing existing laws?

    Jay Curtis (8f6541)


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