AUGUST 13, 2007
A program designed to measure the illegal immigration crisis in Texas has been halted because Mexican rights advocates say state troopers are committing racial profiling and violating the law by asking suspects about immigration status.
For the last two years the Texas Department of Public Safety has tracked state troopersâ?? encounters with illegal immigrants because, like other states that share a border with Mexico, it has been severely impacted by illegal aliens.
The valuable information has been gathered by state troopers during stops. Officers would simply document the number of stops that involved illegal immigrants, the number of them released with no action, the number released to immigration officials and the number jailed. Nearly 50,000 illegal immigrants were encountered during the two years.
But the program was abruptly halted because outraged Mexican rights advocates accused the state of gathering the information illegally and racial profiling. They say there should be a clear division between federal and state agencies when it comes to immigration law enforcement and that local departments should only enforce criminal activities.
In fact, an attorney with a renowned national group that has staged legal battles on behalf of day laborers and illegal immigrants nationwide said Texas troopers actually violated the law by asking about immigration status because only federal agents are permitted to do so.
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