Friday, May 18, 2007

Mexican cops on American streets?

The Police Department in Santa Fe, New Mexico is considering hiring Mexican nationals as Police Officers. The Department has 20 vacancies to fill on their 155 person force but according to the article in "The Santa Fe New Mexican", there is a regulation that currently prohibits noncitizens from becoming a police officer in the State of New Mexico. Apparently, this is a "New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy" regulation and not an actual State law. I don't feel the need to explain why hiring a Mexican citizen to police American citizens is a very bad idea, especially in a border state but Department Personnel in charge of training and recruiting argue that it is permitted in other states. Exactly "which" other states was not cited in the report. I'd like to know.

Of particular interest, this article seems to try to put to bed any concerns regarding the obvious conflict of interest that would be encountered if these potential officers were to try to enforce immigration laws:

Both the city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico have policies against police officers trying to enforce federal immigration laws. After federal immigration officials recently arrested a man at a Santa Fe elementary school and later deported him, Mayor David Coss and state Department of Public Safety Secretary John Denko issued a statement noting an executive order issued by Gov. Bill Richardson in 2005 and an earlier City Council resolution. "The City of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Police Department, the State of New Mexico and the State Police do not investigate, inquire about or, for that matter, care about immigration status,'' the statement said.

This attitude is reprehensible but seems to be par for the course for State and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies all over this country. "It's a federal law", they say, "therefore it is a federal concern". States don't seem to want the responsibility or the headache involved with enforcing these laws but justify not doing so by insinuating that they have neither the authority nor the jurisdiction. I think that's a bunch of crap and states could easily articulate the need to enforce these laws or pass similar legislation of their own since it would be the State and local social services that these illegal immigrants would be benefiting from. Their presence directly impacts and in many cases places undue burden on State and local emergency services like police and fire as well as local hospitals and ems providers who are likely never to get paid for any services that they render.