Colorado lawmaker to air issue of school resource officers doubling as immigration police

Posted: 04/04/2012 09:34:26 PM MDT
Updated: 04/04/2012 09:34:26 PM MDT
By Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post

The controversy over school resource officers doubling as immigration police in the Roaring Fork Valley will get a statewide airing this spring or early summer.

State Rep. Roger Wilson, D-Glenwood Springs, said he is inviting students, parents, school officials and law enforcement to the Capitol to talk about their experiences and viewpoints on the issue of whether school resource officers also helping to enforce immigration laws crosses ethical lines or violates constitutional rights.

"I want to see if there are solutions and if legislation is appropriate or not," Wilson said Wednesday. "It is definitely time to talk about it more."

Wilson hopes to hold the meeting in May, before the state legislature adjourns. However, he said, it may be held in June.

The issue was first raised last year when a local student-advocacy group expressed concerns about a school resource officer also carrying out immigration duties as a Carbondale Police Department liaison with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The officer, Alvaro Agon, reportedly took part in at least one raid involving a student's parents.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Rebecca Wallace has said that the issue has national implications. She said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Liberties has agreed to open an investigation into the matter.

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said he views the issue as more of a local one that doesn't involve his agency. "This issue exclusively belongs to individual school districts," Rusnok said. "These (school resource officers) are not ICE employees."

Wilson said he views the underlying issue as one of trust. Also, he thinks there needs to be "a firewall" between immigration enforcement and school resource officers.

Colorado lawmaker to air issue of school resource officers doubling as immigration police - The Denver Post