NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 9, 2007

What if communities could find an effective, legal way to remove illegal immigrants and reduce crime at the same time?  And what if communities could do this without significant investments of money and manpower and without compromising the image of the city or the morale of its residents, visitors and businesses?

The city of Irving has done just that with its 24/7 Criminal Alien Program, created in September 2006 with Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

  • Irving detention officers worked with ICE agents, who made daily visits to the jail to interview suspected criminal aliens; those identified as illegal were immediately removed for deportation.
  • Irving began removing criminal aliens at the rate of 50 or more a month -- a huge increase over the four per month identified prior to the partnership.

But efficient process changes have allowed the program to become even more successful, says Irving Mayor Herbert Gears:

  • Irving detention officers have begun completing the initial screening process and setting up telephone interviews between suspects and ICE officials.
  • With this simple yet effective process change, Irving was able to determine the residency status of every prisoner 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • This transformed a successful program into a round-the-clock initiative with even greater returns; Irving now identifies and removes more than 130 illegal immigrants a month -- a 250 percent increase over 2006.

What is unique about this program is that it operates within current laws and utilizes existing resources -- without costing additional money, time or staffing resources, says Gears. And it allows the city and Police Department to play an active role in the enforcement of immigration laws.

Source: Herbert Gears, "Herbert Gears: Pulling double duty on immigration, crime," Dallas Morning News, July 9, 2007.


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