Thirty-one Tulsa County deputies will soon be authorized to deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes. Law enforcement authorities began a five-week class Tuesday that allows local officers to enforce federal immigration law. It's put on by what used to be called INS, but is now called ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports some fear the training is one more step toward running legal, law abiding immigrants out of town.
Jails are mini versions of the community, so when a problem pops up there law enforcement knows it won't be long until it pops up outside. Spotting trends early allows jail staff to look for solutions early. That's why Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz began asking for immigration help years ago, now he has it. Deputies will be trained to investigate immigrant crimes and deport illegal criminals. So what used to be a catch and release philosophy is now catch and deport.
"We would arrest them and prosecute them and they'd simply go back on the streets and continue their ways. Now, they'll be deported out of the United States," said Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz.
While the dignitaries and politicians all think the training is great, at least one man, Paul Kane, is worried. Not about the program itself, but the perception of this and other immigration crackdowns.
"It's sending shockwaves through the Hispanic community, not just illegals, but documented, law abiding Hispanics are fearful as well because the anti-Hispanic environment,â€ said Paul Kane of the Home Builders Association. â€œThey're fleeing the state going to Denver, St. Louis, trying to get away."
Kane says the mass exodus from Oklahoma will have a devastating affect on many industries, homebuilding, hotel and restaurant, road crews and yard crews. He wants the message made clearer that the focus is criminals, not Hispanics in general. The Sheriff says he's repeated that message on Hispanic radio and newspapers, and has received much support from legal immigrants.
"Calls, e-mails from those people who tell us we can rid their community of the criminal element, the wish we'd proceed, that's what we're doing," Glanz said.
Sheriff Glanz says his jail has deported several people since June 1st, including those from Germany, Australia, Vietnam, Russia, South Korea and El Salvador, so the focus is not on Mexicans but any illegal criminal. Still, many worry that message is not making it out and Oklahoma is getting a reputation for being hostile to immigrants in general.
Watch the video: Local Authorities Being Trained To Enforce Immigration Laws