Back into the pipeline …
The story by Nicole Formosa on page A1 today about a human smuggling case reveals the unorganized nature of our federal illegal immigration enforcement.While the Frisco police department did their job to retain “coyote” Enrique Alberto Lopez-Baca, a lack of communication between police, prosecutors and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowed every witness to leave the country. With no witnesses, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert was forced to drop the human smuggling charges on Lopez-Baca and, after 60 days in jail for obstructing a peace officer, he was deported back to Mexico.So goes the war on illegal immigration.Coincidentally, this week, the Government Accountability Office released a critical report on the Department of Homeland Security, under which ICE and illegal immigration enforcement falls. This is where it gets scary. Goals for improving the Department’s immigration arm included such simplicities like “efficient resource use” and “updating outmoded management systems.” Shaking your head? It gets worse.Four years after the creation of the Homeland Security Department, the report also asked for the creation of a system to prosecute human traffickers. The report, as well as today’s story, also detailed the need for more communication to local police departments, which is where, the report admits, most enforcement begins.With such a poor foundation, is it any wonder state and federal legislation – not to mention the time of local law enforcement – is being wasted on an unprepared federal deportation system which, according to the report, has made little to minimal gains? The report, above all else, proves that “efficient resource use” and communication plans, at least initially, were never expected of our Department of Homeland Security. Continued disorganization and unreliability from ICE will spoil any local effort to police illegal immigration, as it did with Lopez-Baca. We hope, and we should expect, these issues to be resolved before we release another potential felon back into the pipeline, or we pass more federal legislation setting up our local police to do the dirty work.
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