FEBRUARY 09, 2007
A five-year-old Louisiana law ordering local police to arrest illegal immigrants during routine traffic stops will no longer be enforced by the New Orleans Police Department, which issued a directive this week prohibiting officers from arresting people in the country illegally.
Enacted in 2002 as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the statute makes it a felony for “alien students” and “nonresident aliens” to drive without documentation proving that they are in the United States legally. Louisiana lawmakers passed the legislation to assure that driver’s licenses would not be used in their state to conceal illegal status.
Since its enactment, the New Orleans Police Department has arrested several illegal aliens during traffic stops but the cases have been dismissed by judges that have ruled the violators were racially targeted because they were Latino drivers. One judge went so far as to rule that the law is unconstitutional because it illegally steps on federal immigration law.
Claiming that “federal law preempts state law,” New Orleans’ Police Superintendent, Warren Riley, issued a directive this week that said effective immediately, all members of the department are prohibited from arresting anyone for violation of the 2002 statute.
Several police departments nationwide have similar illegal immigrant sanctuary policies and Judicial Watch has taken legal action against two big-city departments, Los Angeles and Chicago.
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