Thursday, May 01, 2008

WJLA joins Post, WRC, MJM in saying board weakened resolution.

They could all be wrong, but at the moment, my opinion is they are not. Of course, the 11pm WJLA news report on this subject only quoted Supervisor Principi, so it's hard to say they are an unbiased source. They could have at least allowed Corey to claim he made things stronger.

WJLA report, Prince William County scales back illegal immigration countdown:

Prince William County (webnews) supervisors have made a key change to the county's illegal immigration policy, considered one of the most aggressive in the nation. The board decided late Tuesday to direct police officers to question criminal suspects about their immigration status only after they have been arrested.

Note the use of the term "directed". When the first resolution passed, it was the act of "directing" police to question people that was the subject of complaint, and supposedly what made the resolution effective. Before the resolution, police had the right to question people at their discretion. We didn't need a resolution to allow questioning -- we needed it to FORCE the police to question.

Of course, as some have noted, you can't really FORCE police to do things, although formal direction to do so did mean the department had to generate operating procedures doing so, and tell their officers to question illegals. If they hadn't, the police Chief would certainly have been fired for insubordination.

As WJLA's report says:

In October, the board directed police to check the residency status of anyone who is detained, no matter how minor the offense, if they believe the person might in the United States illegally.

See, currently the police are directed to question everybody who is "detained", but now they will only be directed to question those who are ARRESTED.

Republican Supervisor Martin Nohe said Tuesday that the change in the illegal-immigration policy will limit the county's risk of a lawsuit.

This is certainly true, but does it make sense that we could relax the controls over the discretion to question people, and be LESS at risk?

The reason the change in policy for ARRESTED people is less risky is because it implements an ironclad policy of questioning ALL arrested people -- so there's no way to question whether a police officer used his discretion in a way that violates someone's rights.

Of course, Principi didn't win everything he wanted:

Tuesday, [Principi] proposed a change that would have directed police to question a person's immigration status only after they have been arrested and taken to jail. He was the only supervisor to support it.

Instead, the policy directs police to question everybody who is arrested, whether they go to jail or not.

1 comment:

Timothy Watson said...

WTTG (Channel 5) also made the claim that the resolutions was weaken because the person has to be in custody before the police are allowed ask about their immigration status or something to that affect this morning.