Salt Lake Police Chief on Immigration
The Chief spoke to us on his feelings about undocumented immigrants and the current law explaining that being here illegally or the proper term of "unlawful Presence" is not a crime but only a civil infraction and he cannot arrest someone for being illegal nor can he even issue a citation.
The Police do not have authority to round up nor to arrest undocumented people nor does the state for the simple act of just being in the country without permission. This responsibility rests upon the Federal Government and even they need to obtain a warrant and or a deportation order before they arrest an undocumented person. With the amount of Federal ICE agents we have in Utah it would take many years to arrest all the undocumented people that is if they could get the documents showing the name, birth dates and country of origin of these people in order to file the proper paperwork to deport them.
He explained that if they cross the border and are caught crossing then this is a crime and they are deported whereas if they are not caught or if their visa expires and they stay without permission this is not criminal but only a civil infraction. He said that if he sees you J-walking he can write you a ticket but he cannot even issue a citation for "unlawful Presence" to anyone that is undocumented although he could issue them a J-walking ticket.
If an undocumented person gets arrested for something serious then they may be put on an ICE hold and kept for federal agents to come and pick them up.
Many people complain about undocumented people participating in Identity theft. The US Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that if undocumented people are using the social security number of someone else in order to work that they may not be charged with Identity fraud unless it can be proved that they were using the ID of someone else in order to get loans or steal. Over 9 billion dollars was paid into the mismatched social security fund in 2009 by undocumented people and they will never get this money back but it does help keep the Social Security fund afloat.
The chief is concerned that if the local police begin to do the job of Federal ICE agents then the people in the neighborhood will be scared to call them and will hesitate to report crime especially domestic crimes and the people will loose the confidence of the police to serve and protect them. The Chief believes the role of the local police should be kept separate in order to help the police maintain their confidence in the police department and so they will feel comfortable reporting crimes without worrying that they will be deported.
Chief Burbank and Larry
Chief Burbank and Lizeth