(First in an on-going series of articles from a police officer actively serving in a sanctuary county outside Washington, D.C.)
Law enforcement in an illegal alien sanctuary jurisdiction, be it declared or implied, is very much a betrayal of both tax-paying American citizens by their police, and the police by their management and political “leaders”. After all, exactly who is the sanctuary for?
We entrust our police with quite a bit of responsibility and liability. Yet when it comes to what can only be called an invasion (with no intention of sounding alarmist), law enforcement, should be the first line of defense. Yet, we find ourselves powerless to do much of anything except be cogs in the endless wheels of catch-and-release for illegal aliens dictated by sanctuary policies. I suppose it’s no more or less frustrating than the catch-and-release that already goes on in leftist strongholds for American citizen-bad-guys. We already have enough of our own criminals, so what sense does it make to encourage even more lawlessness by enticing illegal immigration with the welcome mat of sanctuary policies?
Having been a cop, and still a cop – the kind in a uniform who has worked the street for over 20 years now – I’ve watched the county I work in transform as follows, as it applies to illegal aliens:
Sanity – Traditionally, laws have been enforced without regard for political motivation. Being arrested for possessing false government documents often resulted in referral to INS/ICE for removal. We didn’t go looking for illegal immigrants – they were just there – and as their numbers increased, so did their interaction with police. But now, punishment is taboo, mostly because the left has told us it’s racist, omitting of course the real reason; the political appetite to mint lots of potentially new, low-income immigrant voters who tend to vote for the party of big government.
Implied Sanctuary – Admittedly, the county I work for hasn’t actually declared itself a “sanctuary”, however it was made clear that no inquiries as to immigration status should ever be made, regardless of the offense, or even if fraudulent identification was used.
Let that sink in for a moment, as it’s an incredibly dangerous policy.
As a result, I do have a rather impressive collection of fake Alien Resident cards, Social Security cards, and driver’s licenses from various states. (You know, because they can’t be used as evidence when there’s never a trial).
We weren’t subject to discipline “officially” for making arrests for false ID documents or calling ICE when a routine license or wanted check revealed an ICE detainer, but we were frowned upon.
Declared Sanctuary – This is where I currently find myself. The direction from above is very clear, available in black and white: in addition to the policies of Implied Sanctuary, we will not assist ICE. We will not respond to anything but actual calls for help (i.e. the bare minimum required anyway) from ICE agents. Not “help” as in “we have ten people to round up but only five agents”, but rather “help” as in we have ten people to round up, but only five agents, and we’re getting our asses kicked”.
Even in the latter case, all you get from us is “show up, break it up, goodbye”. This is a shameful and embarrassing policy, not to mention running counter to the police team concept.
Our new reality is that any National Crime Information Center (NCIC) return on an individual indicating that person has an active ICE detainer is to be ignored. Yes, there is a federal warrant for your arrest and deportation, no I am not permitted to enforce that. In fact, I can’t even call ICE and tell them where you are. Have a nice day.
Keep that in mind next time you pay your county taxes.