OCTOBER 23, 2009
A new stimulus-funded task force targeting criminal illegal immigrants in Utah has helped rid the state that has long offered sanctuary to the undocumented of violence, gangbangers, weapons and other serious public safety threats.
Created by the state legislature a few months ago, the SECURE Strike Force pursues only illegal aliens who commit major crimes and not the hard-working “housemaids” or “lawn workers,” according to Utah law enforcement officials. This, they claim, has made the operation popular among most of the sate’s immigrant communities.
In four months the strike force—staffed by six investigators and a prosecutor—has experienced phenomenal success, seizing substantial amounts of narcotics, weapons and thousands of fake identification cards. Dozens of violent gang members have also been arrested, many of which will be deported and others criminally charged in U.S. courts.
The magnitude of the criminal activity among illegal aliens in his state has surprised Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who says "the impact of violent and major financial crime committed by undocumented aliens is even more serious and profound than originally believed."
The Beehive State has always been quite friendly to illegal immigrants with at least two major cities—Provo and Salt Lake City—offering them official sanctuary or protection from federal immigration authorities. Utah also offers illegal aliens special Driving Privilege Cards and discounted college tuition—usually reserved for legal state residents—at public colleges and universities.
But a surge in the illegal alien population in the last few years and a major increase in violent crimes—including murder, rape and robbery—among the undocumented, pushed state lawmakers to take action. They chose to create the special task force and finance it with nearly $2 million in federal stimulus funds allocated to the state.
Immigration advocates predictably opposed and fought the idea, spewing the all too familiar discrimination and racial profiling rhetoric coined by the influential La Raza movement. It’s difficult to argue with the program’s success, however.
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