Friday, May 30, 2008

Police Sweep North County City For Illegal Immigrants (KNSD-San Diego, CA)

Police Sweep North County City For Illegal Immigrants
Immigrants With Criminal Records Targeted

Troy Hirsch, NBC 7/39 Reporter
POSTED: 8:30 am PDT May 30, 2008

ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- Police in Escondido are scouring the North County city for illegal immigrants with criminal records.

Officers have a list of more than 100 people who have criminal records and have already been formally deported. They believe these people are dangerous, and they want to move them out of Escondido for good.

"We're not about just taking people because they are illegal," said Escondido police Officer Russ Whitaker. "If they're formally deported and they have a criminal history, those are the people we want out."

Whitaker spent Wednesday and Thursday driving around, searching for what he called "targets."

"We started out with 38 fixed targets -- people we have some sort of address on. We have a lot more than that," Whitaker said.

Working with members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Whitaker and other Escondido police officers fanned through their list of nearly 100 names and keep an eye out on the street.

Whitaker knocks on doors, and even if he doesn't find a target, he believes the search makes a difference.

"It's a success knocking on the door and friends and family sees us knocking on the door and they get the message and leave the city," Whitaker said.

This week's sweep is the third made by the Escondido Police Department since it adopted the policy of targeting formally deported illegal immigrants with a criminal history. During these sweeps, Whitaker said he has seen the same people more than once, like an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who they caught while he was riding a bicycle.

Whitaker said that police arrested nine people during the two-day sweep. That was fewer arrests than on the previous two sweeps, but Whitaker said it shows that the policy is starting to work.

No comments: