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Arlington PD Not Planning on Changing Immigration Policy After Cuccinelli Opinion

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2010 at 4:55 pm 2,987 56 Comments

The Arlington County Police Department does not plan on changing its hands-off immigration policies after Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled that law enforcement can ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.

Cuccinelli’s legal opinion also allows police to arrest individuals suspected of committing criminal violations of immigration laws (such as illegally crossing the border).

Currently, ACPD will not ask about citizenship status unless such information is relevant to solving a crime. The department does not arrest undocumented immigrants for federal immigration violations, and only reports undocumented immigrants to U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they’re:

  • Involved in terrorist, subversive or street gang activities
  • Arrested for a violent felony
  • Convicted of a non-violent felony
  • Helping others enter the U.S. through fraud

“The police department does not plan to change policies at this point,” said police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal. “Citizens living or traveling through Arlington should not be worried that our actions will be changing.”

Nosal said the department wants witnesses and victims of crime to feel safe coming to the police, “regardless of immigration status.”

Arlington police will, however, continue to enforce all warrants from federal agencies, including immigration-related warrants.

  • Steph

    Not cool. I do not wish to live in a sanctuary city. I think ACPD should focus on quality of life issues — such as illegal aliens. Instead they prefer to suit up in military gear for every little disturbance.

    • Chris

      “Instead they prefer to suit up in military gear for every little disturbance”?? What Arlington do you live in, idiot?

      • I can see you are highly educated…get out of mama’s basement and see what is really happening around you before you start name calling. I have lived in this county for 38 years and agree that the ACPD can be overly aggressive at times

        • GW

          So overly aggressive at times is equivalent to “suit up in military gear for every little disturbance”? I don’t agree with that assertion if it is indeed the one you are making.

          I’m not a fan of the idiot comment either, but I think your response to the comment is just as disrespectful.

          Also, I have lived here for years and years but I am reluctant to give my opinion extra credence or think that my opinion is somehow more correct based on chronicity of chosen geographic residence. Thus, take my opinion however you please.

  • MB

    Credit to ACPD and Arlington itself, for taking a reasonable stand in favor decency and community. Would that Cuccinelli had a sense of either.

  • Dave

    If ACPD doesn’t want to be asking everyone the encounter if they’re illegal immigrants that’s one thing. But the way I read the policy, it sounds like even if it is revealed that an individual is an illegal immigrant, ACPD won’t do anything about it unless they meet the specific criteria listed. So ACPD is choosing which laws it is going to enforce? Shouldn’t the police enforce all laws?

  • ESlater

    I don’t think ACPD is any better versed in Federal laws than the FBI is in Arlington County law. This sounds like a smart decision.

    • Dave

      They better be versed in some federal law. With the high amount of federal buildings/land in Arlington, I’m sure ACPD officers have plenty of interaction with federal law enforcement. Also, I think it’s pretty common knowledge that if you enter the country without documentation, you’re breaking the law. ACPD doesn’t need to be versed in the nuances of immigration policy in order to refer these people to ICE.

  • Jeff Spangler

    I don’t understand why the “welcoming and inclusive” policy of the all-Democratic Commissioners of Arlington County requires “welcoming” the thousands of illegals known by them to be living and working in Arlington. The policy encourages illegal activity more than it could possibly deter any, makes police accomplices to illegals and denies their lawful assistance to federal authorities stretched way too thin by years of nonenforcement.

    • Actually

      If you look at studies done in localities that have enacted laws requiring police to check status, there has been no measurable decrease in crime. What these laws do is deter people who have information about a crime or are victims of a crime from cooperating with police.

      The other problem is jail overcrowding. Prince William had serious overcrowding issues for a long time after passing their anti-immigrant law (ICE was taking too long to pick up illegals), and if every county in Virginia started inquiring into immigration status, we’d be putting a huge burden on our penal system.

      • Darwin

        Actually being here illegally is a CRIME, so yes creating laws like the ones in AZ do reduce crime because the violators of the law move away to more criminal friendly areas. And “putting a burden on the penal sytem” is no excuse to quit enforcing the law!

      • JR

        if ICE isn’t picking up the illegals detained by local police – then that’s a problem with ICE and Jim Moran should do something about it by placing additional resources against the problem.

  • John Murphy

    Hooray for the good guys! Arlington is the best. So proud of our APD. FYI, here is the mission of the Arlington Police Department:

    “Our mission is to reduce the incidence of crime and improve the quality of life in Arlington County by making it a place where all people can live safely and without fear.”

    “ALL” people…now that’s inclusive and the way it should be!

    • Nate C

      Is that why I am seeing cameras placed on both sides of ACPD patrol cars? I’ve been seeing them lately — on the trunk. What are they for? (Other than spying on its citizens)

  • Efrem

    It’s quite easy folks.

    Democrats want Arlington to remain a sanctuary county for illegal aliens, until such time that the progressive Obama administration grants them amnesty though executive fiat, so that once granted citizenship, the new “immigrants” will not only forever vote for Democrats, they’ll always depend on Democrats to fund the trough of taxpayer subsidies that they slop at.

    In fact, I’m sure the ACDC and County Bored would welcome more illegals to Arlington if they could. Perhaps they should send some ART buses to Arizona to haul in more potential Democrat voters.

    • Which is it, Efrem?

      Half the time you post about how much the County Board hates people who aren’t rich and white; the other half, you post about how much the County Board loves illegal immigrants! You need to pick a position, dude.

      • Efrem

        Here’s breaking news about the “immigrants” you adore.

        Man charged in fatal crash was being deported

        BRISTOW, Va.—The man charged in connection with the Sunday crash that took the life of a Bristow nun is an illegal alien who was out on bond awaiting a deportation hearing, police said Monday.

        Prince William County police notified U.S. Immigration and Naturalization officials about the status of Carlos A. Martinelly Montano, 23, of Bristow after both his first and second drunken driving arrests, said county police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

        Perok said police are investigating how he was able to obtain a driver’s license, which was later revoked after being convicted of drunken driving.

        Police have charged Martinelly with driving drunk and involuntary manslaughter in the Sunday morning crash along Bristow Road that killed one Benedictine sister and injured two others.

        Police say Martinelly swerved off the right side of the road, hit a guardrail, careened across the incoming lanes, hit a jersey wall and then slammed head on into a Toyota carrying the three nuns.

        Sister Denise Mosier was killed instantly, and two others were flown to the hospital, where they remained Monday in critical but stable condition, police said.

        Montano was taken to a local hospital, but released to authorities Sunday. He is now being held without bond at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail. He is set to appear in court Oct. 13.

        Sunday’s crash marked his third drunken driving arrest in five years. He is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony driving on a revoked license.

        “How he could be out of jail with this many offenses on his record, and be wanted by Immigrations and Customs enforcement is beyond me. I foresee him serving many years in the penitentiary,” said Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul B. Ebert.

        Montano was cited by ICE for alien removal in March 2009, said Ebert. But since that time, his record contains a litany of driving-related citations and alcohol convictions.

        “This is someone who thumbed their nose at the law because he said he had to take his children to daycare,” said Ebert.

        In July of 2007, Montano was charged with drunken driving and later convicted. In December, he was charged with being drunk in public. A judge convicted him on that charge in March 2008.

        On Oct. 4, 2008, Martinelly was back in front of a judge after being stopped in the area of Va. 28 and Kincheloe Drive for driving 55 in a 35 mph zone, according to court records.

        The police officer made him get out of the car, saw that he had “glassy eyes,” and then made him walk in a straight line to test his sobriety, according to court records.

        He told the officer that he had three to six beers to drink that night, court records show.

        He was arrested and later tested positive for alcohol use during a breathalyzer test, blowing a .17 per 210 liters of alcohol in his blood, well above Virginia’s .08 legal driving limit, according to court records.

        After an April 2009 jury trial, Montano was sentenced to 363 days in jail but served only 20 of them. He was also fined $5,000, was sentenced to three years of probation and had his driver’s license revoked for the same amount of time, court records show.

        Later that month, he was caught driving without a license and was convicted of the crime in June, according to court records.

        He was also found guilty in Fairfax last year for driving on a revoked license.

        ICE officials late Monday said they were preparing a statement on Martinelly’s deportation case, but it had not been released at press time.

        Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, called the nun’s death “appalling.“

        “The despicable thing is that this criminal was … handed over to ICE twice, and released by ICE twice. He’s gone out an killed a nun. That’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with immigration enforcement in this country,” said Stewart, who has drafted legislation for stricter illegal immigration laws statewide. “The blame is on representatives in Congress for being so flaccid on the issue, and they continue not to fund the deportation of illegal immigrants in this country.”

        Stewart said he hopes the case attracts attention to the illegal immigration issue.

        In 2007, he led county supervisors in passing a strict illegal immigration policy that garnered national attention.

        • HohoJose

          Last major crime committed on my family was by an American citizen.

          What’s your point, Efremo?

          • MB

            Efrem’s point is that he’s willing to ignore the law, I believe. Shocking, I know.

          • Eponymous Coward

            Indeed, and since copyright infringement can – under some circumstances – be a federal felony, one would assume he would want ACPD reporting him to federal law enforcement as well.

        • charlie

          Here is a situation in which the JUDGES and the laws went amuck. The guy could easily have been a legal citizen. There are hundreds of people on DUI’s and driving without licenses.

          • Burger

            True. But you are changing the subject. This guy had 2 DUIs along with a number of other traffic and criminal violations and was still able to get behind a car and kill a woman. Thus, if ICE was doing its job, he wouldn’t have been in this country and that nun would still be alive.

          • charlie

            ICE was doing it’s job. but they are already overloaded. He was prepared for deportation but since he isn’t a “bad” criminal he was allowed to be out free while awaiting deportation. What the heck sense is that?
            One of the big issues with Arizona law and the one Corey Stewart is proposing for Virginia is that we do not have the room in jails and the money is coffers to jail, feed, and take care of these people while waiting for the federal govt. to deport them.
            so they end up back on the street.
            I wasn’t changing the subject other than to point out that he was drunk and driving a car — a skill, unfortunately, not unique to just illegals.

  • Skeptical

    Sorry, but I just cannot rejoice in the knowledge — no matter how many “humanitarian” arguments anyone musters — that people who are here illegally get a free pass from my home county, where I was born, lived all my life, paid every cent of taxes that I ever paid, and wish to continue living.

    I am fed up to the gills with policies that have turned my neighborhood shoping centers and stores into places where English is not spoken and sucked my tax dollars to pay for WIC and Medicaid and welfare for people who chose to come to this country illegally.

    If people want to come here legally, apply for citizenship, learn the language that has been spoken in this country since it was founded, and work as my immigrant forebears from Germany and Ireland worked, GO FOR IT. If they want to sneak inaround the back and flock to places where they are told they can get handout after handout and don’t need to fear Federal enforcement of the immigration laws that are on the books, … WRONG.

    Arlington has crossed the line from generosity to suckerdom, and everyone is so afraid to be called a bigot that no one is willing to say “enough.”

    • SC

      wow, xenophobic much? i’ll make sure to pretend i don’t speak English the next time i’m shopping next to you at the mall, too.

      seeing comments like yours makes me all the more proud to be the product of two (formerly) illegal immigrants who probably have worked harder to succeed in this country than you could ever imagine. and all without one cent of welfare, medicaid, or WIC. imagine that.

  • Max

    I love my county

  • LegalAlien

    I for one, welcome this!

    As a lifelong South Arlington resident, I’m terrified that rounding up illegal aliens would damage my property prices and push taxes skyward!

    • JR

      are you serious??? douglas park has really taken off once the illegals started leaving after the construction bust. i’ve probably gone through a dozen douglas park homes over the past year looking for flip opportunities. every single one was an illegals boarding home. and now – each one has been rehab’d back to single family and the neighborhood is thriving.

  • Dave2

    I suspect the County registrar follows the same procedure ..thus the lifelong terms that Board members enjoy.

  • BasedHerein

    From the writeup:
    “Currently, ACPD will not ask about citizenship status unless such information is relevant to solving a crime.”
    and
    “…allows police to arrest individuals suspected of committing criminal violations of immigration laws (such as illegally crossing the border).”

    It seems that whether a person is here illegally is relevant to solving an immigration crime.

  • MB

    For what it’s worth (to those of you who are more interested in the facts than the hysteria), being in the US without a visa/other authorization is generally not a crime. Now, there are exceptions to this, but it is generally a matter of civil law. To put it in perspective, what Ephrem did above (violating someone else’s copyright by posting an entire article) is *also* a violation of civil law. Does anyone here think that Arlington Police should go knocking on Ephrem’s door about it? (Well, okay, it would be kind of funny, but bear with me here).

    The Congressional Research Service issued 2006 report entitled “Immigration Enforcement Within the United States,” and explained it thusly:

    “The INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] includes both criminal and civil components, providing both for criminal charges (e.g., alien smuggling, which is prosecuted in the federal courts) and for civil violations (e.g., lack of legal status, which may lead to removal through a separate administrative system in the Department of Justice). Being illegally present in the U.S. has always been a civil, not criminal, violation of the INA, and subsequent deportation and associated administrative processes are civil proceedings. For instance, a lawfully admitted nonimmigrant alien may become deportable if his visitor’s visa expires or if his student status changes. Criminal violations of the INA, on the other hand, include felonies and misdemeanors and are prosecuted in federal district courts. These types of violations include the bringing in and harboring of certain undocumented aliens, the illegal entry of aliens, and the reentry of aliens previously excluded or deported.”

    So, given limited resources, we have to prioritize enforcement of the law. In another context – would you rather ACPD spend its time solving violent crimes, or nailing nearly every one of you for breaking the speed limit nearly every time you get into your car? This is what Arlington’s doing with immigration issues. Just like the Federal government. Perfect results? No. Doing the best they can, given the resources? Yeah, I think so.

    • Dave

      MB, a crime is a crime, even if it’s not a felony. You say, “being in the US without a visa/other authorization is generally not a crime” but then go on to explain that it is a violation of civil law. That means it’s a crime.

      I understand that any law enforcement agency must prioritize how resources are used, and I’m not advocating ACPD go on immigration sweeps, but they shouldn’t be essentially looking the other way when encountering illegal immigrants except when they’re committing felonies or actually convicted of a crime.

      • MB

        Dave, it’s not a matter of felony v. misdemeanor. Most immigration issues are entirely outside of criminal law, and that, among many other things, means that very few of our general assumptions about due process and rights simply don’t figure into the equation.

        If you want to define every action that doesn’t comport with civil statutes in the US as a crime, well, congrats. You’ve just made criminals of the entire population. Meaningful, no?

        • Dave

          Sure, and I don’t consider myself a criminal for getting a speeding ticket (your example). But at the same time, I don’t consider it dispassionate, indecent, or unjust that I have to pay a fine and perhaps go to court if I was going fast enough. When I get caught, that’s the punishment laid out in the law, it applies to everyone equally, and I accept that. So why is it xenophobic or against families to expect the same when it comes to enforcing immigration law? I’m not saying you’ve accused anyone of this, it’s just something you see a lot. ACPD is saying they’re not going to apply the law equally, but only in special cases. I don’t understand how that’s okay.

          • Just the Facts

            @Dave: You’re not follwing MB’s discussion with you. (It doesn’t matter what you “consider” to be a crime or not, it’s laid out in federal law.) There are immigration violations that AREN’T crimes. Are you saying that local police should start enforcing NON-CRIMINAL acts?

            I have yet to hear anyone in the pro-local-enforcement-of-federal-immigration-law crowd even attempt to address how local cops are supposed to determine if an illegal immigrant committed a civil or criminal immigration violation.

            Here’s a likely scenario: a cop stops Juan Doe, 35 years old, for violating a no turn on red sign early on a Sunday morning. Senor Doe presents a valid Maryland driver’s license marked “Not Acceptable for Federal Purposes” and a valid Guatemalan consular ID card. Senor Doe states he is a Guatemalan citizen, does not have a SSN and has no other ID on him. He also mentions that he’s been in the U.S. for six years.

            Is there reasonable suspicion that Senor Doe is in the U.S. illegally? Hell yes. He admits to being a foreign national and presents proof thereof but doesn’t have his passport showing a valid visa. He also has a Maryland driver’s license that is only issued to residents who are unable to show proof of lawful presence in the U.S. He doesn’t have a SSN. It’s a no-brainer that it’s REASONABLE to SUSPECT that he’s violating some aspect of federal immigration laws.

            Now, here’s the key question: did he violate a CIVIL or CRIMINAL element of federal immigration law. It’s a vital question that must be answered BEFORE the cop takes Senor Doe into custody. Did Senor Doe come across the border without inspection or using fraudulent documents? Criminal. Did he come across on a tourist visa and overstay the visa? Civil.

            How is this local cop, on the side of the road during a traffic stop early on a Sunday morning, supposed to figure this out? He can only legally detain Senor Doe long enough to issue a traffic ticket. What magic phone number is he supposed to call that will immediately and accurately tell him of Senor Doe’s immigration status? (Here’s hint: it doesn’t exist.)

            Oh, and the penalty for making the wrong decision is an unlawful arrest lawsuit, loss of your job and bankruptcy following a civil judgment against you for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And maybe federal criminal civil rights charges.

            Let the local cops do what they’re supposed to do: enforce state and local criminal laws. If you’re mad at someone for lax immigration enforcement, be mad at the feds. It’s their responsibility to handle those crimes and they’ve been doing a lousy job.

  • Just the Facts

    Thank you, MB, for presenting the FACTS. All the terrified white people who shudder at the thought of hearing an “Hola!” at the 7-11 don’t know federal immigration law. Overstaying a visa or otherwise violating the terms of a legal entry are CIVIL violations. Entering the U.S. illegally or with fraudulent documents are criminal violations.

    When a local law enforcement officer encounters someone he/she believes is in the U.S. illegally, how, in God’s name, is that officer supposed to determine which type of violation the suspect is guilty of? How is a local law enforcement officer supposed to do that? What federal databases should he/she consult? Oh yeah, local cops don’t have access to federal immigration databases. Oh yeah, local cops don’t receive any training on federal immigration law.

    And why are immigration violations being singled out for local enforcement (other than the aforementioned fear of living in a diverse community)? Why isn’t anyone agitating for local enforcement of the federal tax code? I’m much more annoyed by a$$hole citizens who don’t pay their taxes than by some guy who came here w/out papers so he can work 3 jobs that the rest of us don’t want.

    And anyone who thinks Arlington law enforcement doesn’t use immigration violations to help purge the community of criminals REALLY doesn’t know what’s going on. Whether or not ICE wants to come and get them is a different story.

    Finally, violators of criminal immigration law who are wanted by ICE (federal warrant issued) are routinely arrested. Believe me, those warrants, like all criminal warrants, are enthusiastically enforced.

    The point is, by making it policy that federal immigration enforcement is not a primary focus of the local police, residents will feel more comfortable reporting violations of local and state criminal law (which IS the primary focus of the local police).

    I, for one, would much rather have local cops focusing on robberies, burglaries, shopliftings, purse snatchings, assaults, etc. rather than ferretting out a few folks who snuck across the border 10 years ago and have been living hard-working crime-free lives ever since.

  • Marty

    Does Just the Facts think that “the illegal immigrant guy without the papers who works three jobs that the rest of us do not want” pays taxes on the money he earns? Perhaps Just the Facts thinks they do, but I don’t. So, why isn’t Just the Facts as annoyed with “some guy” (make that an estimated 12 million “guys” and “girls”) who do not pay taxes as he is by the a$$hole citizens who don’t pay their taxes?

    • Just the Facts

      @Marty: I don’t know if they do and neither do you. But I’m a lot less concerned about an illegal immigrant making $25k a year not paying a few hundred dollars in federal income taxes than I am about a citizen making $500k a year who isn’t paying what he/she owes.

      But your attempt to further demonize illegal immigrants isn’t the point of the discussion. The point is that federal tax enforcement is a federal duty, just as immigration enforcement is. Local cops shouldn’t be involved in either one.

    • Thes

      Actually, illegal immigrants on balance probably pay *more* taxes than the rest of us, since they tend to file less often for tax refunds and Social Security benefits for which they paid into the system:

      http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2008-04-10-immigrantstaxes_N.htm

  • JR

    i think the dangerous thing is that the police department is deciding which laws it wants to enforce. that’s not there role… and that should concern everyone. the police are there to enforce the laws, not decide which ones are worthy of enforcement. if that was the case – that is a very dangerous slippery slope.

    • Just the Facts

      @JR: There are a whole host of federal laws that local police aren’t enforcing, why are you only bothered by the lack of enforcement of immigration laws?

      And on a related note, I find it very entertaining when people advocate strict enforcement of laws. I’m positive that’s not a sentiment you support universally. You may be the rare exception who enthusiastically accepts a traffic ticket in the name of law-and-order, but I’m willing to bet you beg for a warning like everyone else. Removing discretion from police work? Now THAT’S a slippery slope.

      • JR

        @ Just the Facts – exactly what other laws did i suggest shouldn’t be enforced??? exactly. giving a warning is an option of the police under the traffic laws… that is a completely different issue. this is whether the police, under their own volition, should be to decide which laws they want to enforce. do you think it is okay for police to decide that they don’t want to enforce civil rights legislation?? of course not. what’s the different?? there isn’t any. you should try to bring in a single fact in your illogical arguments.

        • Just the Facts

          @JR: Please try to read this post carefully. You seem to have trouble comprehending other people’s arguments. I didn’t say you suggested any other laws shouldn’t be enforced.

          I was pointing out the inconsistency in people who support local enforcement of federal immigration laws: I haven’t seen nearly the same anger over a lack of local enforcement of other federal laws, for example, income tax laws. I’m willing to bet that this is because the motivation for wanting local enforcement of immigration laws is something other than a principled stand on strict law enforcement.

          You wrote, “do you think it is okay for police to decide that they don’t want to enforce civil rights legislation??” Uh, yes, of course. I don’t think local police should be enforcing ANY federal law without the proper training, authority and support systems.

          Here’s a little civics lesson, which you appear to be in desperate need of: we have a FEDERAL system. Some crimes are violations of federal criminal laws, some crimes are violations of state/local criminal laws, some crimes overlap both. Federal law enforcement agents enforce federal criminal laws, state/local police enforce state/local criminal laws, and the two often collaborate when crimes overlap the two systems.

          Do you want ATF agents stopping you for speeding? DEA agents arresting drunks? I bet not. And nor should local police be enforcing laws that are solely within the federal realm.

          • MB

            My example du jour? The music on posters’ MP3 players.

          • JR

            @just the facts – you should read your own posts more carefully. you said, “Removing discretion from police work? Now THAT’S a slippery slope.” – that’s what i was responding to. plus – the story is about the attorney general issuing a legal opinion that local law enforcement can enforce immigration laws, and the ACPD saying they don’t care to enforce the laws. again – that’s scary that you believe they should be allowed to decide which laws they want to enforce. the attorney general made the legal opinion – like it or hate it – he made the legal ruling. so now it is a local law enforcement issue. i’m sure you are a liberal attorney – which is fine… but don’t try to use your knowledge of the law to confuse the facts.

          • Just the Facts

            @JR: I’m really struggling to follow your rants as they weave from point to point. (And your stream-of-consciousness/liberal interpretation of grammar rules don’t make them any easier to read.)

            Nowhere in AG Cuccinelli’s opinion does it say that local/state cops MUST enforce federal immigration laws. It only states the (quite obvious) fact that local/state police MAY inquire about the immigration status of those they have stopped AND suspect of being here illegally.

            Once again, and I’ll type it very s-l-o-w-l-y so you can follow, local/state cops generally don’t enforce laws that are stictly federal. Local/state cops don’t chase down federal income tax evaders, for example. Add in the complexity of federal immigration laws, some of which straddle the civil/criminal line, (which AG Cuccinnelli recognized in his opinion and, once again, opined that local/state cops should NOT enforce civil violations of federal law), and local/state cops have no business diverting from their primary, and most important function, of enforcing state/local criminal and traffic laws.

          • JR

            wow – going for personal attacks – just the facts… classy.

          • JR

            oh – plus your condescending… and that’s why your party is going to lose in November.

          • Just the Facts

            @JR: I could only control myself for so long.

  • Dave

    @Just the Facts – Sorry, I was unable to reply to your response to me so I had to make a new comment down at the bottom. I’m getting confused though, are you advocating local police shouldn’t worry about non-criminal acts at all? Aren’t most traffic violations non-criminal violations of civil statutes? Should the police just focus on robberies and murders and let people drive as they wish? Perhaps the police should only worry about enforcing traffic violations if someone is physically harmed (we have to prioritize don’t we?!). As for who the local police officer can contact, I’m sure there’s a way, even if a system isn’t set up right now. E-Verify allows employers to quickly check someone’s status, why couldn’t the police use a similar system? They have all kinds of technology right in their cars (and they can always call back to their station), reaching out for information shouldn’t be a big problem. I would also think that holding Senor Doe while ICE is contacted would not be considered unlawful arrest given all the information he provided to the officer.

    On a side note, it kind of blows me away that you can go into a Maryland DMV, say you’re not here legally, and still get a driver’s license.

    • Just the Facts

      @Dave: I appreciate your effort to learn the facts. In Virginia, minor traffic infractions are non-criminal violations of public order (VA Code 18.2-8). The idea is that someone who violates a traffic sign shouldn’t be labeled a criminal. By state code, local and state police are responsible for enforcing traffic violations and there is a specific court system set up to handle traffic violations. So I’m not saying that there aren’t some non-criminal responsibilities for local police, but I am saying that local police shouldn’t be involved in civil issues. (For example, I assume you don’t want local police collecting debts or enforcing financial judgments.)

      As for a system for local police to determine immigration status, it’s not enough for you to write “I’m sure there’s a way” and “reaching out for information shouldn’t be a big problem”. Those are nice thoughts, but there ISN’T a way, no matter how sure you might be. You might want there to be a way–heck, I might want there to be a way–but there isn’t.

      As for your last sentence, that’s not exactly the case. You can’t obtain a license in Maryland without proof of legal residency. You can, however, renew a current license until 2015 without proof of legal residency. It is these renewed licenses that carry the not valid for federal purposes warning. It’s how Maryland chose to comply with the federal REAL ID act. Not saying I agree with it, but those are the facts.

  • TuesdaysChild

    Crystal needs to look up the meaning of the word “citizen”. Illegal aliens are not “citizens” of the U.S. Rather they are at best “residents”.

    “The police department does not plan to change policies at this point,” said police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal. “Citizens living or traveling through Arlington should not be worried that our actions will be changing.”

    • Captain Obvious

      I’m pretty sure she’s referring to the fact that many legal citizens feel threatened by these anti-immigrant laws. Look at Arizona, where the law would require all legal immigrants to carry papers with them at all times. Tell me that’s not intimidating even if you’re complying with the law.

      • Dave

        Captain Obvious, the Arizona law doesn’t require legal immigrants to carry “papers” at all times, federal law does. They haven’t created a single new requirement for immigrants (which is what has stopped other state-based immigration laws such as in Pennsylvania). Arizona is just choosing to enforce existing law, which is what this whole thread is about for our police. Have you ever traveled abroad? Did you visit any countries where you weren’t required to carry your passport? I bet not.

  • Does increasing security/police forces at international borders really stop immigration or crime?

  • Repeal_The_Va_Radar_Detector_Ban

    As you may know, Virginia is the only state that bans the use and sale of detectors. There is no evidence that the detector ban increases highway safety. Our nation’s fatality rates have fallen consistently for almost two decades. Virginia’s fatality rate has also fallen, but not any more dramatically than it has nationwide. Research has even shown that radar detector owners have a lower accident rate than motorists who do not own a detector.

    Maintaining the ban is not in the best interest of Virginians or visitors to the state. I know and know of people that will not drive in Virginia due to this ban. Unjust enforcement practices are not unheard of, and radar detectors can keep safe motorists from being exploited by abusive speed traps. Likewise, the ban has a negative impact on Virginia’s business community. Electronic distributors lose business to neighboring states and Virginia misses out on valuable sales tax revenue.

    Radar detector bans do not work. Research and experience show that radar detector bans do not result in lower accident rates, improved speed-limit compliance or reduce auto insurance expenditures.
    • The Virginia radar detector ban is difficult and expensive to enforce. The Virginia ban diverts precious law enforcement resources from more important duties.
    • Radar detectors are legal in the rest of the nation, in all 49 other states. In fact, the first state to test a radar detector ban, Connecticut, repealed the law – it ruled the law was ineffective and unfair. It is time for our Virginia to join the rest of the nation.
    • It has never been shown that radar detectors cause accidents or even encourage motorists to drive faster than they would otherwise. The Yankelovich – Clancy – Shulman Radar Detector Study conducted in 1987, showed that radar detector users drove an average of 34% further between accidents (233,933 miles versus 174,554 miles) than non radar detector users. The study also showed that they have much higher seat belt use compliance. If drivers with radar detectors have fewer accidents, it follows that they have reduced insurance costs – it is counterproductive to ban radar detectors.
    • In a similar study performed in Great Britain by MORI in 2001 the summary reports that “Users (of radar detectors) appear to travel 50% further between accidents than non-users. In this survey the users interviewed traveling on average 217,353 miles between accidents compared to 143,401 miles between accidents of those non-users randomly drawn from the general public.” The MORI study also reported “Three quarters agree, perhaps unsurprisingly, that since purchasing a radar detector they have become more conscious about keeping to the speed limit…” and “Three in five detector users claim to have become a safer driver since purchasing a detector.”
    • Modern radar detectors play a significant role in preventing accidents and laying the technology foundation for the Safety Warning System® (SWS). Radar detectors with SWS alert motorists to oncoming emergency vehicles, potential road hazards, and unusual traffic conditions. There are more than 10 million radar detectors with SWS in use nationwide. The federal government has earmarked $2.1 million for further study of the SWS over a three-year period of time. The U.S. Department of Transportation is administering grants to state and local governments to purchase the SWS system and study its effectiveness (for example, in the form of SWS transmitters for school buses and emergency vehicles). The drivers of Virginia deserve the right to the important safety benefits that SWS delivers.
    *** A small surcharge($5-$10) or tax(2%-3%) could be added to the price of the device to make-up for any possible loss of revenue from reduced number of speeding tickets and the loss of tickets written for radar detectors.***

    Please sign this petition and help repeal this ban and give drivers in Virginia the freedom to know if they are under surveillance and to use their property legally:

    http://www.stoptheban.org

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/repeal-the-virginia-radar-detector-ban

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