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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    Police chief explains how department handles immigrants

    http://www.chieftain.com/metro/1154159638/5

    Police chief explains how department handles immigrants
    By PABLO CARLOS MORA
    THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
    Police Chief Jim Billings tried to reassure Mexican immigrants Thursday that they will not be deported if they report crimes, but then admitted that he can’t tell his officers not to turn them in to immigration officials.

    The chief was asked to discuss how police would handle cases here in the wake of new state laws called the toughest in the nation on illegal immigration.

    “I am here to let you know that you can come to the police,” Billings told an estimated 50 people gathered in the basement hall at Mount Carmel Church.

    Billings answered questions prepared by Pueblo Imigrante de Marcha (Pueblo Immigrant on the March), an organization formed in April to support immigrants, according to Jose Esteban Ortega, one of the group’s members.

    Billings’ remarks were translated into Spanish by Angelina Olivas and Sister Hilda Mateo of the Pueblo Catholic Diocese, helped by several members of the audience.

    The principal concern expressed at the meeting is the threat that undocumented people who call police will be reported to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a division of the Homeland Security Department, and deported to their native lands.

    Earlier this year, Javier Contreras-Gomez and his brothers, David and Mauricio, all undocumented workers from Mexico, were turned over to ICE after Javier called Pueblo police to report his car had been burglarized and his stereo stolen in the parking lot at Target.

    Pueblo police officer Brian Bowers questioned the IDs the brothers presented and they admitted they were in the country illegally, Billings said.

    Bowers called Sgt. Ken Espinoza, who notified ICE agents. The brothers then were taken into custody.

    Javier and David Contreras-Gomez later bonded out of a federal immigration detention center in Englewood. Mauricio Contreras-Gomez, however, admitted he was here illegally and agreed to be deported, according to Kristi Martinez, an investigator with the Colorado Public Defender’s office.

    “I am sorry that it happened,” Billings said of the incident. “I don’t like that law because it doesn’t give me the ability to protect that person (reporting a crime). However, I have no guarantee that it will not happen again.”

    In response to a question from the audience, Billings said individual officers are free to report suspected undocumented people to ICE.

    “By state law, we cannot have a policy to tell officers that they can’t tell ICE,” Billings said. “What we may do when we arrest someone is notify ICE when we file a report of the arrest with the National Crime Information Center. Then we will have met our obligations under the law.”

    Billings said police across Colorado are grappling with the new state laws on illegal immigrants.

    “I am drafting a policy for Pueblo police officers and I hope to address the problem through training,” Billings said.

    Guillermo Garibay, an attorney specializing in immigration matters, questioned the ability of Pueblo police officers to determine if the papers and documentation a person presents to police are valid.

    “What training do police officers have to determine if papers are legal proof of a person’s citizenship status?” Garibay asked. “If police are investigating legal status, knowing that the person could be taken into custody, are they advising them of their Miranda rights?”

    “We are not well-trained. It is not our responsibility to investigate immigration matters,” Billings said to loud applause. “We are not trained to get into the fine details of immigration law.”

    Audience members also wanted to know where immigrants would be held, and when Billings said he did not know, Larry Howe-Kerr took the microphone to share what he knew.

    “GEO, the firm that wants to built a private prison out by the airport, is landing contracts to detain undocumented workers,” Howe-Kerr, who is director of office of social justice for the Pueblo diocese, said.

    The private prison initially was proposed for 750 beds, but GEO now wants to build a 1,000-bed facility, Howe-Kerr said. He claims that GEO wants the city to “float a bond” to pay for the cost of the private prison's expansion.

    “If the city underwrites the building of this prison, they will have a vested interest in keeping that prison full,” Howe-Kerr said.

    Billings said his draft policy on department procedures for dealing with undocumented workers should be ready by next week and agreed to show the draft to members of the immigrant group.

    On Friday, Billings said he would share the proposal both with the group and his command staff. The city attorney will review the policy and City Manager Dave Galli will have the final say on it, Billings said.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member crazybird's Avatar
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    For Allah? Geeze......I've heard of people doing that to another person who stole something as their punishment......but this is crazy!

    I'd like to know why he did it?
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  3. #3
    MW
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    Senior Member MW's Avatar
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    Billings said his draft policy on department procedures for dealing with undocumented workers should be ready by next week and agreed to show the draft to members of the immigrant group.
    Boy doesn't this sound familiar, Billings is going to clear his drafted policies with the illegal immigrants and the federal government has to clear a border fence with President Fox. Geez, will the pandering, aiding, abetting, and encouragement ever stop?

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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