More troopers will have authority over immigration

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 24, 2006

Gov. Bob Riley announced Thursday that Alabama will have 70 state troopers empowered by the federal government to arrest illegal aliens before the end of the year.

The governor announced that Alabama has received approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to train another class of state troopers in immigration enforcement. The five-week training session led by officials from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) begins Aug. 3 at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston.

This move has pushed the state to the forefront in the fight against illegal immigrants.

Border security and immigration enforcement are federal responsibilities, but the state has an obligation to protect its citizens.

The newest class will be the third class of Alabama state troopers to undergo the special training since Riley signed an agreement with Homeland Security in 2003. Prior to this agreement, Alabama state troopers had no authority to arrest those who were in the country illegally.

That 2003 agreement made Alabama one of only two states at the time with the authority to use state troopers as immigration enforcement officers.

The first two classes of state troopers – totaling 44 – have arrested nearly 200 illegal aliens in the state. They work closely with ICE, which completes the deportation process that the state troopers begin with arrests.

Training troopers to deal with this issue is the right thing to do.