Running head: POLICY ANALYSIS II 1 Policy Analysis II David Kurth, Alanna Evans, Adriane Pierre, Christopher Von Tress, Diane Le, Shawn Crawford CJA463 January 23, 2012 Daniel Barry POLICY ANALYSIS II 2 Policy Analysis II In a vacuum, an event in one area is generally isolated from other areas. Many areas of law and criminal justice may not appear to be related to other areas, and are often thought of as being isolated similarly to objects in a vacuum. Reality presents a different perspective different than that of a vacuum, though. A policy decision or law directed at one aspect of the criminal justice system will have a ripple effect on other criminal justice functions. For instance, when a correctional agency decides to reduce the inmate population by more lenient parole requirements, police agencies are charged with the additional burden of offenders that may not be ready for a successful transition to life back in society. Immigration policies are currently drawing much attention, and the decisions of police agencies and prosecuting attorney offices can have a dramatic effect on each other. Prosecutorial Discretion As with any case or crime, the prosecutor of the town, city, or state has the ability to review it and decide whether or not to proceed on charges. Not only is this true with normal crimes as murder, rape, drug possession, and burglary; but it is also true when dealing with illegal immigrants. Normally, all immigration cases are dealt with by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). However, recent changes in some state laws have made it possible for local law enforcement agencies to handle it directly. Immigrations is considered a federal job and is usually handled strictly by ICE. Because of the changes, prosecutors have to exercise discretion when dealing with illegal immigrants. According to a memorandum from Homeland Security, it “provides U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to ensure that the agency's immigration enforcement resources are focused on the agency's enforcement priorities” (Morton, 2011, p 1). POLICY ANALYSIS II 3 The memorandum goes into detail as to which people can exercise discretion and some of the appropriate times to do so. The biggest factor that is in the memorandum is that discretion will not be used on illegal immigrants that pose a threat to national security, are repeat or violent offenders, and gang members who are a serious threat to public safety. A prosecutor that uses discretion is choosing not to waste valuable resources that can be used on the more serious crimes and threats. They also are choosing to not prosecute the individuals to the full extent of the law. Police Response to Prosecutorial Discretion The police are the initial contact when it comes to apprehending an offender. When immigration and illegal residency is another factor, this makes the situation more difficult for both the prosecution and the law enforcement agency. Immigration policies are not only set out to protect the citizens of the United States, but are also set out to protect against those who are in the country illegally. If a resident alien were to want to obtain citizenship, he or she must be able to complete a set of requirements to fulfill this. The police person’s duties are to enforce the law while the prosecution’s duties are to act in the judicial system to interpret the law. For example, if the prosecution in a particular case only gives an illegal immigrant who has no driver’s license or automobile insurance a fine after causing a serious accident. This might outrage the efforts of the policeman in carrying out his duties. However, the prosecution can only serve within their rights and the state laws. In cases that involve immigration, the offender is tried at the local level for the crime committed and then sent to detention where the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement will then place a hold on that offender (Madorin, 2011). POLICY ANALYSIS II 4 The duties of the state prosecution and police ends there. The federal government along with ICE will then step in to take the next steps in the process. There are other times when ICE is not called in minor or non-violent crimes and it is left to the state courts and the prosecution to handle the case. The police are key witnesses because they can recount the actions of the offender. A lot of times, the offender has false identification, gives false information, and other illegal documents. The police are responsible for supporting the case for the prosecution. The Perception of How These Policies Have Affected Police Activities The immigration laws of America state that unless you have a valid visa to live here you are an alien of the country, therefore here illegally, and should be deported. However, it’s not that easy for local police officers. Police activates are affected mostly because of the fear of racial profiling. “Racial profiling as the term has been employed in recent public debate, refers to government activity directed at a suspect or group of suspects because of their race, whether intentional or because of the disproportionate numbers of contacts based upon other pre-textual reasons”(Siggins, 2010). In the weeks following September 11, federal, state and local law enforcement officials worked feverishly to investigate those responsible for the most reprehensible crime on American Soil and to assess our state of vulnerability to further acts of terrorism. This became a huge problem with a certain racial group of people living in America legally as American citizens when it came to police activates among them. The perception on how and should state and local law enforcement should have the authority to enforce the rule of federal immigration law have been talked about. States and localities bear the primary responsibility for defining and prosecuting crimes. “But beyond enforcing the laws or ordinances of their state or locality, state and local officials may also have the authority to enforce some federal laws, especially criminal laws” (Congressional Research POLICY ANALYSIS II 5 Service, 2004). For example, alien smuggling, which is prosecuted in the courts and civil violations like lack of legal status, which may lead to removal through a separate administrative system. In any case immigration law will always be provided by federal and state criminal punishments it’s just a matter of how we go about it that could affect state and local police activates when it comes to them protecting America and performing their duty correctly. POLICY ANALYSIS II 6 References Congressional Research Service. (2004, March 11). Should state or local governments enforce federal immigration laws? Retrieved from http://immigration.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000800. Madorin, M. (2011). The prosecution of illegal immigrants. Retrieved from http://cdpsweb.state.co.us/immigration/Meetings/October21/. Morton, J. (2011, July 17). Exercising prosecutorial discretion consistent with the civil immigration enforcement priorities of the Agency for the apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens. Retrieved from http://www.ice.gov/doclib/secure- communities/pdf/prosecutorial-discretion-memo.pdf. Siggins, P. (2010). Racial profiling in an age of terrorism. Retrieved from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/ethicalperspectives/profiling.html.
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