MARCH 15, 2007
A police officer in a small central Arizona town has been accused of racial profiling for calling federal immigration officials after discovering that the occupants of a car he stopped for drag racing were illegal immigrants.
The incident took place this week in Gilbert, an upscale city of about 160,000 in suburban Phoenix. When the Gilbert Police officer stopped the drag-racing sports car, the driver told him he didn’t have an Arizona driver’s license but rather a Mexican driver’s license although he wasn’t carrying it.
Unable to verify the lawbreaker’s identity or information, the officer proceeded to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials who subsequently deported the driver and his two passengers to their native Mexico because they were in fact in the United States illegally.
Numerous local law enforcement agencies around the country are beginning to partner with federal officials to help enforce immigration laws although Gilbert’s police department does not participate in such a program. Officers still have discretion to call immigration officials if they have reason to believe a suspect is in the country illegally, however.
In this case the officer seemingly had no choice after busting three rowdy teenagers who were clearly endangering innocent residents by speeding on busy city streets. For fulfilling his oath of serving and protecting, the officer is under fire from the city’s own Human Relation’s Commission which has accused him of racial profiling.
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