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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Boston Expands the Role of Local Police to Immigration Law Enforcers

From NYTimes.com: Immigration officials will automatically be notified anytime the local or state police do a federal fingerprint check on a suspect who also happens to be wanted for serious immigration violations, under a new system being tested in Boston.

The automated notification is part of a Department of Homeland Security program that could expand the role that the local and state police nationwide play in the immigration enforcement effort.

To federal officials, it is a natural next step as police forces have hundreds of thousands of officers who routinely come into contact with illegal immigrants, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a squad of only about 6,000 criminal investigators.

But some immigration and civil liberties advocates objected. “Once the police become viewed as immigration agents, as opposed to simply safety and law enforcement patrols, they will lose the cooperation and trust of a significant portion of the communities they serve,” said Marshall Fitz, director of advocacy at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “That ultimately undermines all of our security interest.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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