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In North Versailles Township, in Allegheny County, police officers alerted ICE to the whereabouts of an undocumented Mexican immigrant named Wilfrido Perez after he was involved in a car crash in which no one was hurt.
Perez, 49, had been in this country over two decades and was in the process of legalizing his status through his marriage to an American woman. " In Philadelphia, police officers are trained to refrain from asking about immigration status, with such questions considered irrelevant to and even obstructive of effective policing.
These are immigrants picked up in communities, not at local jails and prisons.
The Philadelphia ICE field office arrests more immigrants without criminal convictions than any other ICE region: 64 percent of its “at-large” arrests last year.
The result is heightened uncertainty for immigrants about encounters with local and state authorities who might take it upon themselves to act unofficially as surrogates for the federal immigration agency.
No law enforcement official in Pennsylvania is, unlike those in such states as Georgia and Texas where many sheriffs' offices have formal partnerships with the federal immigration agency.
Gale Gallo, Lemoyne's mayor and a member of the regional commission that oversees the police, expressed support for his actions: "In my view, he'd be within his authority to make sure that anyone driving illegally would not continue to drive in our borough," she said.
But policing experts say the officer should have done no more than ticket the cook and impound his car.
When Cambar found himself handcuffed in the back of Macke's cruiser on the verge of being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said, he told the trooper he had a daughter and asked, "Do you think you'd be happy if you were separated from your kids?
" "No," he said Macke responded, "but it's my job." Actually, it is not.