-------- Original Message --------

Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 12:29:30 -0500
From: Katy Bacon
To: Gardner Selby

Bill White said,
ďI enjoyed working with police officers, and I have a lot of support among police officers. We brought crime rates down. Yes, sometimes we did, you know, have differences with the police union, particularly on discipline and overtime issues, but we werenít a sanctuary city, you donít have sanctuary cities by and large in the state of Texas. That is a myth, a complete myth and fabrication. We arrest people every day. HPD arrests people every week who are non-citizens who commit crime. The Department of Public Safety under Rick Perry for the last nine and a half years has had standing orders that it would not do routine civil immigration work, would not inquire about immigration status for people unless they arrested people for crimes. That is the same policy as other cities in the state of Texas. The state of Texas is not a sanctuary state.Ē

Gardner, Ciara, Billís point is that DPS does not compromise public safety by devoting their resources to the routine civil immigration work. Currently DPS does not stop people on the streets or in restaurants simply on the suspicion that they might be in the country illegally.

it would not do routine civil immigration work
DPS orders say,
"Members of this Department will not engage in the enforcement of Federal Immigration Statutes."

would not inquire about immigration status for people unless they arrested people for crimes
DPS orders say,
"Members may arrest aliens under the following situations: 1. When serving a valid warrant after checking to see that the warrant is current. 2. For violation of state laws the same as any U. S. citizen."
DPS orders say,
"Members will not arrest without a warrant an alien solely on the suspicion that he has entered the country illegally."

In Houston, Gardner, If someone in Houston is pulled over on the street without a driver's license, they can be taken in and checked at the officers discretion. But just like at DPS, you canít stop someone solely based on the suspicion that they might be in the country illegally.

See Texas Tribune article where the DPS spokesperson says the following:

Much like Houston, the Texas Department of Public Safety doesn't allow its troopers to stop individuals solely based on the suspicion that they might be illegal immigrants. "We do not enforce federal immigration laws," said Tela Mange, a DPS spokeswoman. "If, for some reason, a trooper on a traffic stop suspects that someone may not be here legally, the trooper can contact ICE for assistance, but we can't detain that person solely because we think they may not be here legally."

You've also seen the below where they IDed tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and did...nothing.

When Houston IDs deportable felons, they turn them over to the feds.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tom McCasland
Date: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 12:24 PM
Subject: DPS kept track of contacts with illegal immigrants Agency ends 2-year study amid questions
To: Katharine Bacon

DPS kept track of contacts with illegal immigrants Agency ends 2-year study amid questions THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS August 13, 2007 Monday


August 13, 2007 Monday


LENGTH: 1312 words

HEADLINE: DPS kept track of contacts with illegal immigrants Agency ends 2-year study amid questions

BYLINE: KATIE FAIRBANK, Staff Writer kfairbank@dallasnews.com


The Department of Public Safety has for two years been quietly tracking how often state troopers come into contact with illegal immigrants. But after receiving questions from The Dallas Morning News, the agency said the study would be discontinued.

Critics allege that some troopers were requiring Hispanic drivers and passengers to show Social Security numbers or immigration papers during traffic stops to gather data for the study.

The Highway Patrol Division began keeping its informal statewide tallies in June 2005, just as the immigration issue boiled over nationally. The regional reports were compiled, totaled and turned over to the Highway Patrol chief each month.

Immigration advocates say they don't see how the DPS could have gathered the information legally. Under Texas law, sworn officers with no special immigration training have no authority to make arrests for civil immigration violations. Being an illegal immigrant is not itself a criminal act. Instead, most illegal immigrants are guilty of a federal civil offense known as "unlawful presence."

State troopers either violated the law by asking about immigration status, "which they're not supposed to be doing, or they're racially profiling based on the way somebody looks," said Luis Figueroa, a San Antonio attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The original intent of the study was to get an idea of the state's immigration situation, according to the DPS. The reports have not been publicized and were discovered through an open records request by the News.

"The perception was that the contacts with illegal immigrants were increasing, but there was no record baseline available," Tom Vinger, a DPS spokesman, said last week.

In a written statement, Mr. Vinger said that the "gathering of this data was designed to be a temporary snapshot of the situation. This has been accomplished and the numbers are inconclusive. DPS management has made the decision to discontinue the gathering of this information."

He would not say who in management first ordered the study, or who ordered it to end. He also did not give details on why the state police were interested in the information or how the information would ever be used.

Under the DPS study, troopers documented the number of stops that involved illegal immigrants; the number of them released with no action; the number of them released to immigration authorities; and the number jailed. The study showed that the total number of contacts trended down slightly, while the number of those people jailed or turned over to immigration officials stayed fairly constant. The DPS said officers encountered nearly 49,500 illegal immigrants during the two years.

Mr. Vinger declined to speculate how officers determined whether someone was an illegal immigrant. There were no specific rules under the informal study, he said.

The determination of immigration status is left to federal authorities, and racial profiling is against DPS policies, he said. "These reports don't change that fact," he said. "I wouldn't read too much into these numbers. It's an unscientific gathering of information."

Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, alleged that some DPS officers have been asking Hispanic drivers for Social Security numbers or immigration papers to determine immigration status.

"We're receiving about 10 reports a month where state troopers are stopping people for minor traffic violations and then [they] do this," he said. "They're not only keeping track of it, but in our opinion, they are enforcing federal immigration law. There is no policy regarding that, and they are not trained to do that. We believe it is wrong."

If people can't produce papers proving they are legally in the U.S., they are then held for immigration officials, he said.

The pro-immigration community is suspicious about why the DPS compiled the reports and how troopers determined who is illegally in the country, Mr. Garcia said.

"At this point, it is very difficult to believe that they need the information - especially right now in this anti-immigrant climate," he said. "There is concern about this. They are sending their own message to our community that the function of DPS is enforcing immigration law."

Even though the DPS says the study is over, the legal defense and educational fund would be interested to know why it began, how it was executed and why it was stopped, Mr. Figueroa said.

"We're concerned that they will pick it up again at a later point," he said.

The study's results weren't regularly provided outside DPS, although a couple of legislators asked for details, according to the DPS.

Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said that the governor's office was not aware of the study and had never requested copies of the results. But she added that any time law enforcement officials investigating a crime come into contact with someone believed to be here illegally, that person should be referred to immigration officials.

"I'm not saying [state troopers] should be asking this, but if they're tracking this and then do nothing about it, it doesn't measure up," Ms. Cesinger said the day before DPS decided to halt the study.

Keeping track of contacts with illegal immigrants is new for local law enforcement divisions. When it does occur, observers say the data is usually kept under wraps to avoid the intense debate that can follow the issue.

"Neither the feds [nor] most of the states say they track. They don't want to know or they're reluctant to give the information out," said Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank. "We've found it extraordinarily difficult to get information out of anybody."

The study by Texas troopers was similar to how the Arizona Department of Public Safety records encounters between state police and illegal immigrants.

"This has been an enormous issue in Arizona for several years now. That's why we started collecting that data," said Bart Graves, a spokesman for the Arizona DPS, which has gathered numbers since 2003 and shares the results with other law enforcement agencies.

"It helps make the case for more federal assistance," he said. "It shows the huge problem in Arizona."

State police in New Mexico and California do not track them, officials with those departments say. They and other law enforcement divisions say they don't do so because crime victims and witnesses could become afraid to speak up in fear of being turned over to immigration officials and deported.

"We've encouraged law enforcement not be involved in immigration," said Mr. Figueroa with the legal defense and educational fund. "In the past, they tried to keep their distance for fear of losing hard-earned trust in the communities they protect."

Today, law enforcement is becoming far more involved. For instance, police and sheriff's departments participated in hunting down cross-border criminals during some statewide investigations, including one last year known as "Operation Wrangler." Immigration officials set up "deportation and removal" sites during the multi-department maneuvers.

Also, many jails today have introduced policies in which officers inform federal authorities about people they believe are here illegally. This has been done, in part, to get federal funds that can help defray costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants. "The blurring of the lines is getting much greater as this issue gets more controversial," Mr. Figueroa said.

"We believe there should be a clear division between the enforcement of immigration law between federal and state," he said "State and local should only be involved in the enforcement of criminal activities. The majority of immigrants have not committed criminal activities; they've only violated the civil provisions of immigration law."


Tom McCasland
Policy & Research
Bill White for Texas