illegal immigrants

Feds get local enforcement to ID immigrants

The federal government is rapidly expanding its program to make local and state enforcement agencies its eyes, ears and cuffs on illegal immigrants.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 67 local and state law enforcement agencies are going to continue enforcing immigration law but be subject to more oversight.

Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio  -- under investigation by the Department of Justice for possible civil rights violations -- can't sweep his county for illegal immigrants.

Whether in California, Las Vegas or Arizona, local and state agents across the country have spotted more than 130,000 illegal immigrants.  About 24,000 illegal immigrants identified have been deported this year.

Las Vegas police help deport illegal immigrants

Since November, the Las Vegas police department has helped initiate deportation proceedings agains nearly 2,000  illegal immigrants who are inmates in the Clark County Detention Center.

In a new partnership that blends criminal law and immigration law enforcement,  Las Vegas police report the names of violent offenders believed to be in the U.S. illegally to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Clark County program is narrower in scope than that of Maricopa County in Arizona, where police officers can arrest people for immigration violations.  However, once someone has been arrested in Clark County on unrelated charges, they can be screened for possible deportation. 

A Las Vegas police spokesman said  an inmate's criminal history affects whether they initiate deportation proceedings.  Another 1,800 inmates who are illegal immigrants were not reported because they had no violent criminal history.

Critics of the partnership call it tantamount to racial profiling; they say the police's double duty will deter Hispanic community members from reporting crimes.

Improving U.S. treatment of immigrant detainees

Every day, about 32,000 illegal immigrant detainees -- including women and children -- are kept in conditions criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union as overcrowded, inhumane and unsafe.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security is reforming its illegal immigrant detention policies for nonviolent detainees awaiting their day in court -- such as those who just arrived, seeking asylum from their home countries' conflicts and persecution. 

In addition to centralizing its scattered, fractured oversight, the U.S.

Carol Smith's picture

Immigrants who agreed to testify, deported

Dreams bring immigrants to the United States - under legal circumstances and otherwise. Sometimes the dreams are so powerful they make people do desperate things. And desperate people are easy prey for scams, like one unfolding now in Utah. Pamela Manson of the Salt Lake Tribune reports on a woman who has been accused by the Utah State Bar of posing as an attorney and taking money from scores of illegal immigrants - many of whom belonged to her same church --  in exchange for bogus promises to help them get legal papers. The woman has denied the allegations, and a federal investigation did not produce criminal charges, according to the Tribune report.

That such scams occur is not surprising. There have been others recently.

What is surprising, is that those immigrants who stepped forward to help immigration officers try to expose fraud, are now being deported. The immigrants say they were promised a chance to stay in the country legally, if they helped.

Immigration officials say they never promised. Some people would call that miscommunication. Some people would call that a scam.

Luis Maco is one of those waiting under threat of deportation. He agreed to wear a wire for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He's waiting now to hear whether he will be deported to Peru, and separated from his family.

"For a person coming from another country, the American dream is bigger than to an American," Maco said in the Tribune's story. "It's a dream becoming a nightmare."

Rita Hibbard's picture

Fact is, illegal immigrants are in 'health care purgatory'

So Joe Wilson shouts crudely, "You Lie," at the president from the House floor. What's the truth about illegal immigrants and health care?

Karen E. Crummy of the Denver Post, takes a look at the language of the House bill, and determines that while illegal immigrants are not exempt from the requirements to buy insurances and not prohibited from enrolling in the "Health Insurance Exchange," which offers access to private plans and a public option (should it ever come to pass) they must be in the country lawfully to receive subsidies based on income. That's according to research by the the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress.

"While there are no spelled-out citizenship verification procedures, implementing proper mechanisms would fall to the health choices commissioner, a presidential appointee position, created by the legislation, who would oversee a new regulatory body, according to congressional services. There are citizenship checks already in place for federal programs such as Medicaid, which could be used for this purpose.

Additionally, Leighton Ku, a health policy analyst and professor at George Washington University, said that because the bill ties subsidies to substantiated income, there already exists a good method to weed out fraud through tax returns.

California initiative targets "invasion by birth canal"

Our depressed economy presents an excellent opportunity to rally anxious Americans into supporting measures that make the lives of illegal immigrants and their families harder.

So believes a group of initiative pushers in California who want to end public benefits for illegal immigrants and cut off welfare for their children. They also want to make the process of applying for a child's birth certificate conducive to providing documentation for the deportation of illegal resident parents.

They hope to build on similar benefits curtailments in Oklahoma, Colorado Virginia, Arizona and Georgia, according to Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times.

Illegal residents: burden or buoy?

California's nearly 3 million illegal residents add between $4 billion and $6 billion in incarceration, education and medical costs, according to state estimates. 

But they also pay local sales taxes -- and often have Social Security and federal income taxes withheld from their paychecks.   Across the U.S., illegal residents pumped $12 billion into the Social Security system in 2007, according to that agency's estimates.

That money goes to federal rather than local governments, whose short-term costs related to illegal immigrants may be larger than the revenues, according to most experts.

So what to do during a budget crisis? Bar hospital doors to illegal residents? Kick them out of schools?  Toughen up the border?  Maintain the status quo?

Anti-illegal immigration activists are campaigning for an initiative to cut off welfare payments to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, even though those children are eligible because they are U.S. citizens.  Doing so would save $640 million per year, according to the state.

To find out the options being considered in California, read the report by Anna Gorman and Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times.