Illegal Immigrants, A Costly Problem

KOTV (Tulsa), March 1, 2007

The U.S. Department of Justice recently audited 100 illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity in 2004. Results showed 73 of them re-offended a total of 429 times. The Justice Department calls them “criminal aliens.”

During the year of the audit, there were more than 260,000 ‘criminal aliens’ in America. Too often, results showed local authorities “catch and release” ‘criminal aliens,’ without contacting immigration officials.

News On 6 anchor Tami Marler says there are more than 12 million illegal immigrants in America. The vast majority of them come to work and support their families. As with any group, there will be exceptions.

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The News On 6 went through more than 100 records and found dozens of suspects who have several aliases, or fake identification, or none at all. Are they here illegally? The News On 6 learned that Tulsa Police are not even allowed to ask. In an effort to enhance trust in the community, Tulsa Police officers cannot enforce federal immigration law. They may request documentation for identification purposes only. Tulsa Police say even “legal” immigrants are reluctant to cooperate in criminal investigations if they fear deportation. Jim Gilchrist says sanctuary policies fail the public. “We had 15 times the deaths since 9-11 at the hands of illegal aliens in the United States than we have had at the hands of insurgents in Iraq.”

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The News On 6 spoke with some immigrant advocates who said no one approves of criminal activity, whether the suspect is in the country legally or illegally.

Opponents of 287(g) fear law enforcement would use it as an excuse to racially profile. Jurisdictions that have already implemented it say they’ve seen a decrease in crime, especially driving-related offenses.

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office should be enforcing immigration law sometime in the summer.

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