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What authority are Colorado State Troopers authorized to exercise?
After completing training, the state troopers are able to enforce immigration law while in the course of performing their normal state trooper duties. These troopers will NOT conduct immigration-related raids on businesses or workplaces. They only enforce immigration law in connection with individuals they encounter while performing their normal duties as state troopers.
How many members will be assigned to the immigration unit and when will the Immigration Enforcement Unit be operational?
The unit will be comprised of one captain, two sergeants, 20 troopers and one civilian staff support. The Patrol has set a target date of July 1, 2007 for the members of the unit to be trained and operational.
How can the Colorado State Patrol obtain the authority to enforce Federal immigration law?
The Colorado State Patrol must request permission to enforce immigration law. After requesting permission, the state or local law enforcement agency then must reach a written Memorandum of Understanding with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If an MOU is signed, ICE must provide appropriate training and supervision to any local officers while they are engaged in immigration enforcement.
What will trigger their exercise of immigration authority?
Again, Colorado state troopers will enforce immigration law only if they encounter immigration violations during the course of their routine state trooper duties.
Realistically, can 24 additional people make much of a difference in stemming the flow of human smuggling and trafficking into Colorado?
Yes. The cooperative work of ICE and Colorado's state troopers will provide enhanced immigration enforcement in the state. In addition, these troopers will serve as a resource for their fellow state troopers, all of whom will receive basic training in immigration law, human trafficking and human smuggling. Additionally, by strengthening the Patrolâ€™s ability to conduct immigration enforcement, we will improve traffic safety, interdict criminal activity, and increase homeland security throughout Colorado.
How will members of the immigration unit be selected?
The Colorado State Patrol will select members of the unit from among the ranks of its incumbent officers who wish to transfer into the unit.
How big of a problem are human smuggling and human trafficking?
According to the State Department, up to two million people are trafficked worldwide every year, with an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 in the U.S. On average, the Patrol contacts over 500 illegal aliens a week, or approximately 26,000 annually.
How long is the ICE training for those in this program?
The troopers completed a five-week training course.
What about language training? How will troopers communicate with foreign nationals who don't speak English?
The ICE training does not include foreign language instruction. The state troopers may use the same interpreters and translator services that are currently used by the Patrol.
What safeguards are in place to prevent Colorado State Troopers from engaging in racial profiling?
The Colorado State Patrol has written policy that strictly forbids bias-based enforcement, and all Colorado state troopers have received training regarding bias-based enforcement. These troopers will also receive ICE training related to the Department of Justice prohibition on racial profiling. Further, the Department of Homeland Security has policies prohibiting such practices. ICE supervisors strictly follow the prohibitions against racial profiling. If any trooper is found to engage in racial profiling, he/she will be decertified immediately.
Has the leadership team been identified?
Yes, the leadership team consisting of one captain and one sergeant has been selected and are in place as of July 1, 2006. The newly created unit will report to Major Scott Hernandez and will be located at Camp George West in Golden, Colorado.
What information will be covered during the training?
The five-week course mirrors the immigration training that ICE agents receive. It is specific instruction that stresses immigration and nationality law. The training also emphasizes cultural sensitivity and civil rights instruction.