My stance on this issue has created some controversy especially on the New Mexicans comments section of their website. I have received some very hateful and vicious emails and calls and some very supportive. The supportive calls and emails has been about three to one which is nice. The biggest bone of contention seems to be the belief that some have that I cannot enforce the laws while speaking out against them at the same time. I truly believe that in America laws are drafted and changed through a democratic process that involves speaking out and letting our elected officials know how you feel on an issue. The fact that I am an Elected Official and a Law Enforcement Officer does not preclude my right and responsibility to seek changes in our laws while still enforcing them.
That said, I want to make very clear that we as local Law Enforcement Officers do not enforce immigration laws. We cannot arrest someone strictly on the basis of their immigration status. If someone commits a crime and also happens to be undocumented then the arrest is made and immigration officials, if they are interested in the case will take up the immigration portion of the case. Just a note: many, many misdeameanor cases such as D.W.I., shoplifting etc. are ignored by immigration officials and they will not deport based on these arrests simply because they are over taxed and do not have time to deal with these individuals.
Now, what I am advocating is not that we do not deal with the immigration problems but rather that we advocate legal means for these workers to come to our country and work legally. I support working towards a meaningful immigration policy that makes sense and is enforcable. It is obvious that the current system does not work. Another note: Some of the people who have called me, hire or have used undocumented workers themselves, yet they disagree with my beliefs on this issue. On the one hand they want to take advantage of the workers while they are here but on the other hand they say we should not allow them to be here illegally. I find this highly hypocritical and is at the root of this problem.
I truly feel that we can deal with homeland security issues and immigration issues while still bieng compassionate and giving of the people coming to America to make a better life for themselves and their family's.