Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Immigration Cops in New Jersey

This morning the New York Times published an editorial "New Jersey's Immigration Crackdown" The NYT is saying that New Jersey's authorizing local police to act as immigration officers is something that can easily (and already has) get out of hand. With anti-immigrant sentiment so rampant these days, it would be easy to find a cop who would be happy to arrest an undocumented person or maybe even one who just looks undocumented.

Below the excerpt from the NYT is an article from the New Jersey Times about a group of undocumented people who were picked up in Plainsboro, N.J.

NYT 4-16-08 "Illegal immigration is inherently a matter for the federal government, but local police forces are increasingly conducting their own crackdowns. The police in some New Jersey towns have been aggressively looking for immigration violations and, predictably, it has been leading to abuses. The state should scale back police involvement in immigration enforcement...Some officers, however, have been going far beyond what Ms. Milgram authorized, as Kareem Fahim recently reported in The Times. They are supposed to ask about the immigration status of anyone arrested for an indictable crime or drunken driving, but not for minor offenses. They are prohibited from asking about the status of crime victims, witnesses and people requesting assistance. The police are directed to report those without proper identification to federal immigration authorities..."

Plainsboro traffic stop halts Mexican trek
Officials: 10 illegal immigrants face deportation
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
New Jersey Times

PLAINSBORO -- For a group of 11 Mexican nationals, a journey of more than 2,000 miles ended with a routine traffic stop -- just one hour from their destination.

They had been on the road for three days stuffed into a small sport-utility vehicle when a township police officer stopped them Sunday morning because of the tinting on the vehicle's windows, officials said.

As it turned out, the 10 men and one woman were in the coun try illegally and were detained by federal immigration authorities following the traffic stop, police said.

They had started their trip at the Mexico-Arizona border and were headed for New York City when the vehicle was flagged.

Township Patrolman Jason Mariano pulled over the Ford Escape on Route 1 north at 9:15 a.m. Sunday to investigate the tinting on the windows and found 11 people riding in a vehicle designed to accommodate five passengers, police said.

Under New Jersey law, window tinting applied to the windshield or front windows after the car is manufactured can be illegal.

An investigation led by Mariano found the group had started a cross-country trip three days earlier headed for New York. Police did not elaborate on their investigation, made public yesterday in a statement, and police officials were unavailable for further comment.

The group ranged in age from 19 to 34. When stopped, a 19-year-old male, Isahin Lopez Gomez, was behind the wheel, according to police.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was notified and sent agents to police headquarters, where the 11 were detained and taken to the agency's detention facility in Elizabeth.

ICE spokesman Mike Gilhooley said yesterday the 11 detainees will have hearings and the agency will commence immigration removal proceedings, the term the agency uses for deportation. He declined to say if agents learned any other details of the group's travels.

Also in the vehicle were: Claudia Cruz Degante, 22; Ruben Velas quez, 33; Marcos Corzo Gomes, 19; Cesar Bazquez Jordan, 19; Santi ago Diaz, 34; Placido Vasquez Pa checo, 24; Ancellmo Martines, 28; Leonardo Lopez, 21; Jose Hernan dez, 21; and Wagner Solis Esco bedo, 19.

Kevin Shea can be reached at (609) 989-5705 or

© 2008 The Times of Trenton
© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

NYT editorial:

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