Monday, January 09, 2006

More back Pawlenty's illegal immigration initiative

Gov. Pawlenty's illegal immigration initiative got the backing of a few law enforcement individuals who actually want to enforce the law.

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A local Border Patrol official endorses Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to crack down on illegal immigrants.

Lonny Schweitzer, acting assistant chief of the Border Patrol's Grand Forks office, said Pawlenty's plan provides local and state law enforcement the same powers that his officers have.

"This arms them with the same statutes as federal statutes to enforce," Schweitzer said. "It gives them additional statutes where they can detain these people and prosecute them."

Schweitzer, who has studied Pawlenty's proposal, said the Border Patrol doesn't regard it as stepping on its turf.

"We look at it as good support," he said. "It gives them more tools in their toolbox to deal with not only illegal aliens, but other issues such as fake IDs."

Sheriff speculates

Kittson County (Minn.) Sheriff Kenny Hultgren speculates that Pawlenty is unhappy with the level of federal prosecution of violators. That's the only reason he sees for what he calls a duplication.

"The prosecution side of illegal immigration isn't what it could be," Hultgren said. "If you catch illegal immigrants, don't just give them a court date and release them. The chances of them showing up for court are slim and none. (Source: Grand Forks Herald, Jan. 8, 2005)

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