Friday, July 4, 2008

What Is This Man Thinking?

Many of you have followed the ongoing issue of illegal aliens in Maricopa County. Recently Mesa officials, including George Gascon, Chief of Police. Recently, the MPD change it's policies towards illegals, giving officers more lattitude to contact the United States Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, the Chief made so inaccurate and foolish statements about the Constitution and it's relationship to the investigation of crimes, which apply to both local and federal crimes. While the Constitution, or more rightly, the amendments to the Constitution that deal with trials, searches, and indictments, do apply to all persons within the jurisdiction of the federal courts, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits state law enforcement officials from conducting an investigation into any crime, including a federal crime. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits any law enforcement official, including a MPD officer, from approaching and questioning any person about any crime. Now, however, Chief Gascon thinks that his officers cannot questioning a person about their violation of immigration laws because there is a Constitutional prohibition. Now the Chief did not explain how sometimes his officers are permited to do that and sometimes they are not. The legal precedents are clear. A law enforcement officer can approach any person and question them about any crime. If they refuse to answer questions, the person can break off contact or continue to refuse to answer. However, the officer can hold the person if the officer, through his training, experience, and knowledge of crime, can hold that person and continue either questioning or investigating a potential criminal investigation. That was codified in a Supreme Court decision, Terry v. Ohio. In legal jargon it is called a Terry Stop. Basically a person can he detained by a law enforcement officer until the officer has either gathered or failed to gather sufficient evidence to make a probable cause arrest. Even more recently, the Court ruled that officers can even stop and hold someone who does not have sufficient means of identification, especially a driver of a vehicle. I am sure the MPD uses that technique on an hourly basis on a variety of crimes. But Chief Gascon seems to think that those perfectly Constitutional and legal techniques do not apply to illegal aliens. Well, many claim that illegal aliens are not committing crimes. Well, that is what liberals say, and they are liars. Yes, liars, as they and their attorneys know that any alien who enters the U.S. without inspection or commits fraud at enty (e.g. lies to obtain admission to the U.S.) has commited a federal criminal offense, 8 USC 1325, Improper Entry By An Alien. Now illegal aliens commit many other crimes, usually including some sort of crime related to false identity documents and misuse of Social Security Numbers and documents. And today, the Mexican government now issues, before it did not as I can personally attest to, an identity document to its citizens in the U.S. unlawfully. It is called the Certificado de Matricula Consular. This is sufficient probable cause for any law enforcement officer to hold a person as part of an investigation and sufficient to make a probable cause arrest. It is more than sufficient to call USBP or ICE, so they can make a non-criminal arrest based on the Immigration and Nationality Act. Previously MPD had a sanctuary policy until the public pressure was to great. Now Chief Gascon wants to have it both ways, appear to do something about illegals, but not do too much. The current obsession now is dealing with felons, but the real question is dealing with lower level crimes and the collateral illegals that any investigation eventually uncovers. Now Chief Gascon and most other police departments say they want to protect witnesses and victims, but that is just a convient public excuse not to arrest lower level illegal alien criminals, such as those encountered in traffic stops. Chief Gascon is caught between a rock and public opinion, and is dancing around the issue like a ballerina, because he supports illegal immigration and he is claiming that conducting an investigation is unconstitutional. Let it be heard around the world, illegals do not have a constitutional right not to be investigated, arrested, or referred to ICE or USBP.

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