American law enforcers in border cities are facing difficult decisions about immigration enforcement in light of the government’s decision to to press into use a provision of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act through which 63 local law enforcement agencies throughout the country partner with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to designate officers who can enforce federal immigration laws, reports the McAllen, Texas, Monitor. Agencies can allocate officers to work on an enforcement task force or assign jail officers who focus on identifying illegal immigrants already in jail.
For the sheriffs in the Rio Grande Valley's two most populous counties, rounding up illegal immigrants on the street has never been a priority. Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said he would not participate because his agency lacks the manpower and jail space to round up illegals. And Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said his agency will continue to target the “criminal illegal immigrant” – those whose offenses entail more than violating federal immigration law. “That is not my job,” Treviño said of federal immigration enforcement. “But when you land in my jail, then you're mine.”