Houston asks for help with illegals

March 10, 2009 3:59:28 PM PDT
A controversial debate is back in the spotlight with the shooting of a Houston police officer during a drug raid last week. Just two and a half years ago, Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson was killed in his squad car. Both men were shot by violent criminals in this country illegally. Today the mayor and police chief detailed a potential big change in policy and a letter they wrote to the federal government.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Houston's mayor and police chief say they need help from the federal government to get convicted felons who are also illegal immigrants off the streets. These words came from Mayor White to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in a letter pleading for help and proposing some changes to help get convicts who are in the country illegally deported.

"A local law enforcement agency -- under law we cannot deport people," explained Mayor White. "That is the job of the federal government."

In a news conference downtown, Houston's mayor and police chief remembered HPD Officer Rodney Johnson, shot and killed by a Colombian national two and a half years ago. They also talked about Officer R.L. Salter. He is still in critical condition after an El Salvadoran national with a rap sheet that stretched through Angleton, Pearland and Houston shot him in the face last week. Other officers returned fire on Wilfido Alfaro, killing him.

"Alfaro has been arrested five times for possession and/or delivery of narcotics," said Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt. "He was arrested at least three times since his ordered volunteer departure from the country in March of 2001."

In his letter the mayor points out that the "lack of federal resources is simply unacceptable." His plan asks the government to:

  • Run the information on arrestees through a national database that is kept up to date
  • Give state and local law enforcement access to the database
  • Seamlessly transfer convicts who are illegal from local to federal authorities
  • Make the deportation status of convicts public record
  • Offer rewards for information leading to the arrest of deportees who have re-entered illegally
  • Deter those who do re-enter illegally, by perhaps deporting them again to what the mayor called a "very inconvenient location"
  • The mayor's letter acknowledges that most serious crimes in the US are committed by American citizens. But he urges Secretary Napolitano to not lose track of what homeland security really means.

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