September 10, 2007
Joe McDevitt, Republican candidate for at-large Atlantic County freeholder, said today county and local law enforcement agencies ?should explore the possibility of applying for training courses for their personnel to allow them to be certified in enforcing immigration laws.?
McDevitt noted that the State Attorney General recently issued a directive to state and local police agencies to inquire as to the immigration status of individuals they arrest or detain and to refer them to the appropriate Federal authorities if there is reason to suspect they are in this country illegally.
?The Attorney General?s directive is an important first step, but it should be supplemented at the local level by officers specifically trained in immigration matters,? McDevitt said.
The training is specifically provided under the Federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and the cost is borne by the Federal government, McDevitt said, through the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service.
?Obviously, national policy regarding immigration is a task for the Congress and the President, and hopefully agreement will be reached on such a policy? he said.
?At the same time, greater involvement by local police in enforcing existing law is an appropriate and prudent public safety step,? McDevitt said.
He said that, as a Freeholder, he would urge both the Sheriff?s Department and local governments to ?seriously examine seeking the special training and certification for their personnel.?
?It is common practice to train police officers in specific areas of law enforcement — such as narcotics and white collar crime — and it is logical to offer such training in matters involving immigration law,? he said.