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NH police and illegals: Is this 'catch and release?'

EDITORIAL
September 23. 2017 5:35PM

A new Deerfield police policy says a person written up for a ticket or citation will be released "regardless of his immigration status." It says that police "may notify ICE" if the person "is flagged by ICE in the NCIC system for violations of immigration law." Shown is the Deerfield police station. (Melissa Proulx/Union Leader Correspondent)

The New Hampshire State Police are working on a "clear policy" regarding that agency's role in dealing with illegal immigrants. We hope it comes up with something clearer and better than what the Deerfield police have just adopted.

Immigration enforcement is clearly not the police's primary concern. But to simply say, "Not our job," does a disservice to New Hampshire citizens and non-citizens here legally, as well as to the police as an agency of law enforcement.

State and local police should not be stopping people based on skin color or foreign accent. But neither should illegal immigrants get a free pass to walk away from a valid stop because of a police policy that does little or nothing to cooperate with federal law and federal authorities.

If state or local police are running a name through crime data bases, that should include immigration data. But the new Deerfield police policy says a person written up for a ticket or citation will be released "regardless of his immigration status."

It then says that its police "may notify ICE" (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) if the person "is flagged by ICE in the NCIC system for violations of immigration law."

But that sounds a lot like barn-door closing after the horse has been allowed to leave the premises. Equally discouraging is the line that says "any request by ICE for non-emergency police assistance must be approved by the officer in charge."

Is that likely to encourage or discourage an officer in the field from holding an illegal or letting him go?

It is often said that we cannot deport 11 million illegals. But we can certainly send a message to prospective illegals that you enter our country at your own risk and that we are serious about enforcing the law.

We hope that Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald will make sure the state police policy keeps that in mind.


Crime, law and justice Public Safety Local and County Government Immigration Editorial Deerfield


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