Local police should be able to begin deporting immigrants in the county illegally, U.S. Rep. Bill Sali said in Coeur d’Alene on Friday.
The Idaho Republican said during an interview at The Press offices that President Bush’s plan to deal with those who sneak across the border is flawed.
“We cannot grant amnesty,” said Sali. “This is the wrong answer.
“The thing that separates a republic from other forms of government is the rule of law, and we can’t say the rule of law will be applied in some instances and not in others.”
He said the government can’t reward a person who broke the law entering the country, then tell them to “go and obey all of our other laws.”
To that end, he said he co-sponsored a bill that would give police the funding and authority to begin the deportation process of illegals they apprehend in the performance of their duties.
“They would have the money and the training and the authority to start that process,” he said, instead of leaving it up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to decide when, or if, they would follow up on the local arrest.
He said giving local police the authority to deport would “start us down the path to again respect the rule of law.
“It’s a small step in the right direction.”
Sali didn’t know how much that kind of enforcement would cost.
He also said the U.S. needs an immigration agency that deals with and enforces immigration laws.
“Employers need to know the people they hire are legal,” Sali said.