The number of suspected illegal immigrants turned over to federal authorities by Colorado law enforcement agencies dropped 40 percent last year, says the Rocky Mountain News. It’s a sign that the number of people in the state illegally is falling because of stepped-up enforcement, employer sanctions and the economic downturn, officials and lawmakers said. “That’s kind of an indication of how market forces, with a little bit of a nudge from legislation, can actually have some impact,” said State Sen. Tom Wiens.
Still, police and sheriffs departments forwarded 16,000 names to Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials in 2007, with relatively few resulting in automatic holds for deportation. In 2006, the state legislature required all police agencies to alert ICE officials when they detained or stopped someone they suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. The law went into effect in June 1, 2006, and police agencies flooded ICE with names, referring about 15,200 people over the next seven months. Last year the pace slowed, One official said the number of border agents has climbed to 18,000 from 4,000, the housing slump has led to a decline in jobs, and more states are putting together teams to combat human trafficking, as Colorado has done. Even though the numbers are down statewide, ICE still has a hard time keeping up.