Thursday, August 23, 2007

Progress or Politics?

With her directive that all New Jersey law enforcement officials notify federal authorities when a suspected illegal immigrant is arrested for an indictable crime or drunken driving, state Attorney General Anne Milgram has apparently taken an important first step in dealing with illegals and sanctuary.

Has the Corzine administration had an epiphany, prompted by the execution of three college students at the hands of illegals, or are they simply attempting to take the issue off the table in the upcoming election?

As Conservatives with Attitude's Hank Butehorn points out, "The Devil is in the Details."

Hank argues that Milgram's directive has actually limits law enforcements authority to act under section 287g of the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act:

However, a significant concern is raised by Directive 7. That Directive applies to state law enforcement officers with federal immigration enforcement authority pursuant to what is commonly referred to as “287(g);” a section of the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act. The concern stems from the fact the Directive constitutes state action that basically removes much of a 287(g) officers authority.

How did they do this? Well Directive 7 says that a 287(g) officer cannot exercise that authority “unless and until the officer has arrested an individual(s) for violation of an indictable offense, or for driving while intoxicated, under state law.” However, that limitation is not
placed upon such officers by the 287(g) program; in contrast, the 287(g) officer
has greater latitude to determine a person’s legal status under the 1996 Act.
And, in fact, a 287(g) officer can ask about legal status merely upon reasonable
belief the person is in the country illegally; there is no requirement the
suspected illegal be under arrest for an indictable offense, or any offense at

Basically, the state took the opportunity in the Directive to
significantly limit and impair a sanctioned immigration officer’s ability to do
their job in that role. 287(g) officers are specifically tasked to investigate,
apprehend, and detain illegals. But, the New Jersey Attorney General is limiting
the circumstances where they can do that job.

Further, such officers - pursuant to the Act - are under the sole direction and supervision of the
Attorney General; however, that is the U.S. Attorney General, not New Jersey’s.
So, ultimately, in effect, the state took the opportunity to act as the Federal
government so as to dictate, and limit, federal enforcement of federal
immigration law - something the Constitution places solely with the Federal
government - and, hence, give sanctuary to many illegals.

While state officials continually say they are not responsible for setting national
immigration policy, or enforcing immigration law, they have taken such a step by
controlling how an official properly authorized to carry out that role is
permitted to do their job as such.

Why limit this directive to indictable offensives and drunken driving? Tax evasion is an indictable offense, but we're not likely to see cops on the beat demanding that grass cutters or bus boys produce their pay stubs.

The use of 287g should be expanded, not limited. Officers should be empowered to invoke 287g during traffic stops and for disorderly persons offenses. Code enforcement officers and educators should be empowered to report illegals to the feds.

Illegals make a rational decision when they come here. There is very little risk and enormous rewards. It is long past time to change that equation. We need to make it riskier to be here illegally and reward those who immigrate within the system and assimilate to our society. We don't need to put walls along our border to do this. Enforcing the laws already on the books and depriving services from illegals would do it.

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