Many cities and states are increasingly taking on the duty of verifying the immigration status of people stopped for traffic infractions and other violations, the Wall Street Journal reports. In Alabama, about 160 illegal immigrants have been arrested since the state entered a partnership in 2003 with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (ICE). Local officers are specially trained in some immigration enforcement duties.
Forty-four of Alabama’s 650 state troopers have taken the five-week training course and are now authorized to enforce federal immigration law. That training involves detecting false identification, understanding the details of federal immigration law, and the pitfalls of racial profiling and other possible civil-rights violations. The ICE partnership empowers local officers to detain someone who has violated federal immigration law –something that they are typically not allowed to do. Interest in the program has taken off as the national debate over illegal immigration has heated up. ICE has received requests from several states in New England and the Midwest, as well as counties in Texas and California. “It has proven very difficult for the federal government to increase manpower in the enforcement of immigration law fast enough,” says Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who oversaw the the program when he served in the U.S. attorney general’s office from 2001 to 2003.