In response to the murder of a Phoenix police officer in September of this year, police in Scottsdale, Arizona have begun asking every, single suspect they arrest for proof of citizenship. If none is produced, Federal immigration authorities are notified. Why are they doing this? Because the cop-killer was an illegal immigrant who had twice been deported and had been arrested by Scottsdale police only 16 months before the murder. Had they taken the killer off the streets of this country then, officer Nick Erfle might not have died at the hands of Erik Jovani Martinez.
Scottsdale police had arrested Martinez on a misdemeanor charge 16 months earlier but they released him then because they didn't know he was an illegal immigrant who had been twice deported.
Erfle's killing "caused us to look at what were asking suspects," Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said. "If we arrest someone and then find that we called ICE (Customs and Immigration Enforcement) and they put a hold on them, then we know they have been deported and are back again."
Martinez was later killed by police after he stole a car and took a hostage, authorities said.
Now police in the affluent suburb ask every suspect about their citizenship, have ICE agents pick up those who are in this country illegally, and keep a database of possible illegal immigrants in case they turn up again.
Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross supports the policy change and said that because every suspect is asked about citizenship, police are not engaged in racial profiling.
"I would not tolerate that," Manross said. "I think the chief has struck the right balance to do what we want to achieve."
ICE answers every call and helps get the lawbreakers out of the country. If police in the rest of the country did the same, how fast would the problem begin to go away? My guess is, not very long at all.