... E_ID=44864

Connecticut cops say no
to immigration enforcement
Say arresting illegals of little value
since feds seldom deport non-felons
Posted: June 18, 2005
5:00 p.m. Eastern © 2005

Connecticut's public safety commissioner has turned down a beleaguered mayor's request to deputize state police as federal immigration agents, saying arresting illegal aliens in an effort to enforce the nation's immigration laws would be useless since federal authorities have no meaningful deportation process for most immigrants.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton had sought the assistance of state police to enforce U.S. immigration laws, arguing his city was overwhelmed by an influx of illegals that were draining the city of police and social services, as well as housing. Danbury, with an official population of 77,000, has 10,000 to 15,000 illegals, says the mayor.

Boughton's repeated letters to federal officials to address the burden caused by lack of enforcement have gone nowhere. In April, he requested the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to train Connecticut troopers in enforcement of federal immigration laws, reports the Danbury News-Times.

Several states have successfully deputized state and local police to arrest illegals. Alabama's program, begun in 2003, has netted over 100 arrests, including one man arrested during a traffic stop who was wanted for murder in Mexico.

Southern California law enforcement recently reversed a long-standing policy that ignored immigration status in local criminal investigations.

Local authorities have been able to enforce federal immigration laws since 1996.

But in evaluating Mayor Boughton's request, Public Safety Commissioner Leonard Boyle concluded such a program would not be cost effective because, once delivered to federal authorities, illegal aliens are quickly released into the community following an appearance before an immigration judge.

"In short, given the extensive amount of training necessary to deputize state officers and the absence of any meaningful deportation process for illegal aliens who have not committed felony offenses, deputization would not seem to be a wise use of state resources," Boyle wrote.

"Actual deportation," he continued, "if it ever occurs, only follows a lengthy adjudication and appeals process, which commonly takes years."

Wilson Hernandez, a spokesman for the Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants that organized a recent 1,200-person march against Boughton's proposal, cheered the state police commissioner's response.

"We're happy state officials took this seriously and analyzed it and gave our mayor the answer we expected," Hernandez said.

Rebuffed, Mayor Boughton vows to continue lobbying Washington for a tighter border and immigration reform.

"I will also urge the president and Congress to enact meaningful border security measures and provide a vehicle to legalize America's existing undocumented immigrants," Boughton wrote.