The Quintessential Force Multiplier: the Inherent Authority of Local Police to Make Immigration Arrests

Scholarly Articles and Books

February 22, 2005

Kris W. Kobach, The Quintessential Force Multiplier: the Inherent Authority of Local Police to Make Immigration Arrests, 69 Alb. L. Rev. 179 (2005)

I. Introduction

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 underscored for all Americans the link between immigration law enforcement and terrorism. Nineteen alien terrorists had been able to enter the country legally and undetected, overstay their visas or violate their immigration statuses with impunity, and move freely within the country without significant interference from federal or local law enforcement. n1 The abuse of U.S. immigration laws was instrumental in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. Moreover, any suicide attack by an alien terrorist in the future will likely entail additional violations of U.S. immigration laws. Either the terrorist will attempt to enter the United States legally and will violate the terms of his nonimmigrant status in the planning and execution of his attack, n2 or the alien terrorist will enter without inspection (EWI), which is itself a violation of U.S. immigration law. n3

The fact that the 9/11 terrorists had been able to exploit weaknesses in the enforcement of immigration laws was not surprising to those engaged in the execution of federal immigration law. Enforcing the immigration laws is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the federal government. With an estimated 7 to 10 million illegal aliens already present in the United States n4 and fewer than 2000 interior enforcement agents at its disposal, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a Herculean task on its hands – one that it cannot easily accomplish alone. n5 After 9/11, it became clear that an effective domestic war against terrorism would require improvements in the enforcement of immigration laws.

On June 6, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced read more.

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