The immigration judge stared at me with one of those “Do you think I’m stupid?” looks.
He had asked me why my client had been placed in custody.
I explained my client was driving to church on a Sunday morning around 7:30 a.m. with his two U.S. citizen daughters when he was stopped by a police officer. The officer had passed my client driving in the opposite direction. He made a quick u-turn, put his lights on, and pulled him over. The officer said it looked like my client did not have his seat belt fastened.
Not believing me, the judge turned to the government attorney. His notes confirmed the seat belt story.
If Arizona can take certain aspects of immigration law into its own hands, why can’t California do the same?
“What’s good for the goose,” my mother used to say, “is good for the gander.”
According to a San Diego Union-Tribune news report earlier today, Escondido has become the first city in Southern California to integrate the help of immigration agents in local police activities. Escondido is located in Northern San Diego County.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers now work out of the Escondido Police Department offices and accompany police officers on certain calls. It is not clear which types of matters the ICE officers are tracking.
The Escondido Chief of Police, Jim Maher, said the ICE agents work on cases involving “criminal illegal immigrants.”
Having represented immigrants as a San Diego immigration lawyer for nearly two decades, I find the Chief’s phrase puzzling and vague.
It could mean ICE officers will only handle matters where the immigrants have already been convicted of crimes. Or it could mean they will be part of investigations where immigrants are suspected of committing a crime.
It could also mean that anytime a person is suspected of lacking immigration documents, ICE takes on a more active role in the immigrant’s detention.
Unclear guidelines often lead to unnecessary legal battles.
The debate over immigration reform, during the past week, exploded in Riverside County.
A decision by the Hemet City Council to endorse a hotly disputed and constitutionally defective Arizona law triggered other Inland Empire and Southwest Riverside cities to join the bandwagon.
Practicing immigration law in Riverside County, I’m glad immigration reform has become a leading issue. It’s long overdue.
But I’m disappointed at the negative twist it has taken.
It’s not quite summer, but the Riverside heat wave has already started.
Wild fires, the immigration variety, have erupted in cities and states across the nation.
The fires were lit by Arizona.
As a result, it was no surprise when the the immigration reform debate spread to the City of Hemet this week.
Actually, it was not the immigration debate which arrived in the small relatively unknown Southwest Riverside city. It was the anti-immigrant circus promoted by hate-based groups.
And like politicians in other places, the mayor of Hemet could not avoid the misguided temptation to grandstand for political purposes.