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    Councilman requests help with illegals ... news58.txt

    Councilman requests help with illegals

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:16 AM CDT

    District 5 Councilman Raymond Lewis said he wants to crack down on the number of illegal aliens present in Iberia Parish and has requested the assistance of the Investigative Division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Lafayette to reach that goal.

    "I noticed in Iberia Parish that we have an influx of Mexican aliens," said Lewis. "A couple of people had come forward with their concerns because they had witnessed car accidents that Mexican aliens were involved in where it looked like they couldn't tell directions because our signs are in what should be the American official language."

    Lewis said he compares local incidents, such as the car accidents he says occurred on Admiral Doyle Drive to those nationwide. "Two teenagers lost their lives in Virginia Beach, Va., because someone in their police department knew that those people were illegal, but didn't do anything about it," said Lewis.

    According to Lewis' letter to the Department of Immigration dated April 25, he wrote in to make the office aware of "an increase in the number of DWI cases, an increase in the number of criminal cases, and an increase in the number of accidents caused by non-English speaking persons."

    Lewis said he believes illegals may be the cause of a rise in the city's OWI charges.

    City prosecutor Anne Stevens said there is no true way to determine whether a certain race is responsible for such increases, although the possibility is there.

    "We have had an increase in the need for court interpreters over the last couple years," said Stevens. "But we don't keep statistics based on race, national origin or gender, so it's hard to say."

    According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Hispanic population in Louisiana age 18 and older is 2.4 percent of the total state population. Of New Iberia's 32,623 residents, 487 were Hispanic or Latino.

    The most recent census update in 2005 showed that Iberia Parish was made up of 1.7 percent Hispanics.

    "I requested that Immigration and Enforcement do random checks because it's being done all over the United States," said Lewis. "(Customs) are raiding the industrial and commercial industries and going through temporary laborers to determine if the workers have the necessary legal documents."

    Vernon Francis, with whom Lewis said he filed his complaint, could not be reached for comment.

    Sheriff Sid Hebert said he contributes an increase in Hispanics to the vast number of jobs available as a result of recent hurricanes.

    "I don't sense a crime streak related to (the increase in immigrants)," said Hebert. "I don't think that our increase is any different from other areas along the Gulf Coast."

    Hebert said the only crime committed recently by a man of Mexican decent occurred in Loreauville when that person shot two bondsmen. He could not confirm whether that person was in the country illegally.

    "We can run across illegals in several different ways, but some of the first questions an officer asks such as 'may I see your driver's license or identification card' usually makes it pretty obvious," said Hebert. "They have been found during traffic stops, domestic cases, or in other cases they have been the victim."
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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    I freed thousands of slaves; I could have freed more if they knew they were slaves.
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