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HOMELAND INSECURITY FILES

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 16, 2004 10:44 PM

Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu of New Hampshire have discovered the feds’ old catch-and-release game…not with fish, but with illegal aliens. The Union Leader reports:

[Gregg and Sununu] want to know why federal immigration officials decided not to step in when New Ipswich police stopped a van carrying nine illegal aliens this week.

New Ipswich Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain said he contacted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau of the Department of Homeland Security Monday afternoon when a speeding stop led to the discovery of the illegal immigrants from Ecuador.

But ICE officials in New Hampshire and Connecticut both said they were not interested in taking custody. They advised Chamberlain to get identities and other information and release them.

The men told police through an interpreter that they had paid $10,000 each to be smuggled into the U.S. and that they make their living as day laborers in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Police cited the van driver for driving after suspension of his license and impounded his car.

Gregg and Sununu, both New Hampshire Republicans, said local police did their job in stopping a speeding vehicle.

But they said they want to hear what happened at ICE, which has taken many responsibilities of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Sununu said the ICE response “was disturbing and clearly unacceptable. It is the responsibility of federal officials to further investigate and prosecute any violation of immigration laws when alerted to possible violations by local and state law enforcement officials.”

Welcome to reality, gentlemen. This game has been going on a long time. You want answers? Have your staff contact Justice Department whistleblower Juan Mann at DeportAliens.com.

You want to know why consistent immigration enforcement is impossible? Well, when was the last time you voted to increase federal immigration detention space and take a stand against granting amnesty to immigration law-breakers? When was the last time you voted to punish cities that defy federal law and give sanctuary to illegal aliens? When was the last time you publicly stood up against the ACLU, CAIR, AILA, etc. etc., who scream “racial profiling” any time law enforcement officers enforce immigration law?

Look in the mirror, gentlemen (voting records here and here).

Update: Let’s play catch-and-release across the USA. Send me your examples. I’ll start…

July 14 – WENATCHEE, Wash. – The man now charged with the murder of deputy Saul Gallegos in Chelan was “voluntarily removed” from the United States three times in recent years but he always came back. Twice Jose Sanchez-Guillen was removed from the border at Blaine, and once in Wenatchee. Immigration experts say it’s part of an old loophole in the system, where unless local law enforcement specifically notified them of an illegal immigrant in custody, they didn’t know about it…

July 11 – LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Open borders activists oppose a plan by LA County Sheriff that would allow sheriff’s deputies to interview foreign-born jail inmates to determine their immigration status. The Los Angeles Times (registration required) reports:

Earlier this week, dozens of inmates bunched against the exit of the Inmate Reception Center, awaiting their release. The immigration agents began by interviewing as many of those men as possible, working down a list of foreign-born immigrants provided by the Sheriff’s Department. But they never finish the list.

“I guarantee you that some of the people right there, walking out the door, are criminal aliens,” said Chief Chuck Jackson, head of the jail system, as he walked past the prisoners.

July 12, DEL RIO, Texas – From the Del Rio News-Herald, we learn that 17 illegal aliens from Brazil were arrested by a local sheriff and almost released without any federal investigation. The sheriff’s complaints to Rep. Henry Bonilla resulted in immigration enforcement interviews that would otherwise not have happened. Sheriff D’Wayne Jernigan fumed:

“What are my concerns about these releases? They’re the same as yours. These people are unknowns, they were arrested in a different part of the country and transported to Del Rio. They can’t enter Mexico, so they are turned loose in Del Rio without any visible means of support and intent on going north to New York, Detroit or Chicago or west to Los Angeles,” Jernigan said.

He added, “What are they going to turn to, to get money? When people are desperate, they turn to crime. Even good people will turn to crime when they are desperate. And I don’t want to subject our local citizens to this potential for stealing and robbing,” Jernigan said.

“Another thing that concerns us: Are they criminals? Are they terrorists? We don’t know who they are,” Jernigan said. The sheriff, who retired from the U.S. Customs Service after serving as the resident-agent-in-charge of enforcement, said interviews of federal immigration prisoners can provide officers with valuable information…

“I raise the issue with our elected officials, so they can then question agencies at the headquarters level. The agency officials at this level here locally, I truly believe, are just as much against these releases as I am. They feel betrayed. They’re thinking, ‘We work hard to apprehend these people and then the next day someone at the Washington level orders their release. Why are we apprehending them in the first place?'” Jernigan said.

“They turn these people loose with a piece of paper that tells them to report (to an immigration hearing) at an unknown time and date, to an unknown place,. . .and there’s no way for the agency to get in touch with them again. Are they going to show up at those hearings? Will the agency ever be able to find them? Let’s be realistic. It’s ridiculous. A war on terrorism? Homeland security? Hah!” Jernigan said.

Hah, indeed.

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