Police Right to Act as Immigration Officers

CBP Officers pay tribute to fellow fallen officers during a Law Enforcement memorial service in Washington D.C.

 

In certain parts of the country, police are taking it upon themselves to act as immigration officers. In the most recent case of illegal arrests and detentions, Ariel Vences-Lopez, a 23 year old from Minneapolis was detained by a transit rail police officer. Mr. Lopez failed to pay his fare and refused to verbally respond. This led to police officer, Andy Lamers, proceeding to taser and detain Mr. Lopez due to his immigration status.

In the New York Times article, police Chief John Harrington states that, “it is not his department’s policy to question riders about their immigration status. Harrington said the officer who questioned Vences-Lopez in the video is no longer with the department”. The police officer who over-stepped his power was disciplined.

While most state governments ensure to keep the line between police officers and immigration officers very clear and even punishable if crossed, the State of Texas encourages their police officers to ask for immigration status under Senate Bill 4 (SB4). This new law signed by Governor Gregg Abbott, grants local police the power to act as federal immigration officers. In an attempt to curb illegal immigration, Texas has taken a very tough stand against immigrants.

Senate Bill 4, which goes into effect on September 1, 2017 is already creating a lot of negative backlash.  Now a simple act like driving without a license can get you detained and even deported if you are of color. Police are even encouraged to ask for immigration status in domestic violence calls.  In another controversial news story from The Washington Post, a woman was detained after seeking domestic abuse protection at a Texas courthouse.

For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer can be contacted at 713.850.0066, 305.538.6800 or bruce.coane@gmail.com.

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