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- 07-17-2012, 11:43 PM #1
Babeu says Obama immigration policy creating 'roadside amnesty'
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 10:49 AM MST
By BRIAN WRIGHT
President Barack Obama’s policy changes toward immigration last month have left Pinal County sheriff Paul Babeu frustrated.
Directives from the president that have limited what Arizona law enforcement can do regarding enforcement of immigration policy amount to “roadside amnesty” for illegal immigrants, Babeu said.
The Department of Homeland Security ended 287(g) agreements with state law enforcement; those agreements allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to delegate authority to local agencies for immigration enforcement.
Now, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies have to call ICE when they stop or detain a suspected illegal immigrant and ask if ICE wants to take action against that person.
Obama’s policy shift also stipulates any illegal immigrants in the country who are 30 years of age or younger and can prove they have lived in America for five continuous years won’t be deported unless they have committed a felony.
That doesn’t sit well with Babeu, whose Sheriff’s Office has already dealt with the repercussions of the change in policy.
On June 27, a PCSO deputy stopped the vehicle of a 17-year-old Hispanic male near Florence because it was going 85 mph in a 35 mph zone. The driver said he didn’t have a valid driver’s license, that he was born in Mexico and that his parents were in the country illegally.
After the deputy notified an ICE representative of the situation, the representative said the agency was not interested in the the driver because he claimed to have lived in the United States for the majority of his life and had not committed a felony.
The driver was cited for two misdemeanors and released to his mother.
Babeu said his department no longer has the ability to investigate these kinds of incidents under the authority of 287(g).
“What it does, is [Obama’s] basically giving amnesty to those individuals,” Babeu told the Maricopa Monitor by phone Monday.
Babeu said this raises questions about who checks the status of how long an individual has lived in the country. He said the problem is these claims go unchecked.
“Nobody investigates it, and people can just make a statement,” he said.
Babeu criticized Obama for originally saying he didn’t have the authority to make a unilateral policy change on immigration without the approval of Congress but later did so anyway. The Republican sheriff said he was also against age limits and other factors that create enforcement of certain laws while excluding enforcement of others.
While Babeu said the PCSO has a good relationship with the Casa Grande sector Border Patrol office, he said the policy shift makes it more difficult for the Sheriff’s Office to enforce laws. He also said law enforcement officials are being “demonized” by the federal government.
The example he used was a hotline people can call to report suspected racial profiling. Babeu said the president chose not to enforce laws against some illegal immigrants but simultaneously set up a hotline where people can call to report law enforcement officials.
As for the five continuous years lived in the U.S., Babeu said without documentation, this is something any illegal immigrant who is detained can take advantage of by lying.
“People who have been here (in America) for a week are going to say that,” he said. “There’s no criteria, and who enforces it? It’s not us, it’s ICE. This 17-year-old could have told us anything … I don’t know what illegal immigrant would ever say the true time period that they’re here. If you’ve been here two years, why wouldn’t you say you’ve been here five years, knowing there is no check?”
Babeu said this issue must be addressed by the Obama administration or the next administration because the changes to enforcement can only come at the federal level.
“All this does is continue to kick the can down the field of giving partial amnesty to certain groups of people,” he said. “In the absence of any decision, law enforcement continues to be placed in this difficult position.”
TriValley Central > Maricopa Monitor > County State > Babeu says Obama immigration policy creating 'roadside amnesty'We have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.