Well, now this is some good news on a Saturday in the illegal immigration battle. Phoenix police will start to ascertain the immigration status of all of the people they arrest, it was announced yesterday.
The police in this city at the center of the immigration debate will soon ask all people arrested whether they are in the United States legally and will in certain cases report the information to the federal authorities, Mayor Phil Gordon announced on Friday.
People stopped for civil traffic violations like speeding will not be questioned, nor will crime victims or witnesses.
All those arrested on criminal charges like drunken driving and murder will be asked by officers whether they are in the United States legally.
The police may decide to recommend checking by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The change includes having the police notify the immigration agency about people who are detained but not arrested who officers have “reasonable basis” to believe are illegal immigrants.
A conservative legal group said the policy did not go far enough.
Civil rights advocates suggested that people who appeared to be Latino or spoke with accents would be more likely to be checked than others.
Hispanics make up 34 percent of Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city, with 1.5 million residents.
At a news conference on Friday, Mr. Gordon and the four lawyers on a commission that recommended the changes tried to emphasize that the program would be closely monitored. Police officers, they said, would not become immigration agents and would not stop people at random and ask their legal status.
“We are doing what every city in this country should be doing but doesn’t,” Mr. Gordon said.
He added that the policy drew “a bright line between what should and should not be the role of the Phoenix Police Department.”
What’s surprising is that the old “Grey Lady” herself is reporting this. The New York Times has been a huge proponent of illegal immigration and mostly bashing critics of illegal immigration. Progress? Just maybe.