"Illegal Intrusion" part 2: Fighting Illegal Immigration on the Local Level

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Illegal immigration is a continuing problem in the United States. Local and state law enforcement is well aware of the influx of illegal aliens living in Alabama but say they can't do anything about it.

The fact is plain and simple: local and state agencies cannot enforce federal immigration laws. That's frustrating to Houston county sheriff Andy Hughes who says Uncle Sam is understaffed and doesn't have the resources to combat the problem.

Sheriff Hughes has a simple standpoint when it comes to illegal immigration.

“If they're illegally immigrating, just like breaking any other laws, then I have no use for it,”

But he says there's nothing neither he, nor anyone else in the state can do about it.

“Under current Alabama law and under federal statute local authorities have no enforcement ability to enforce federal immigration laws,” said Sheriff Hughes.

Sheriff Hughes says recently, federal immigration agents came to town but failed to make a bust.

“We took them by the hand, we took them to a construction site where there were 10 undocumented workers who were in this country illegally working, and they slapped the sub-contractor on the hand and said ‘we're going to be watching you from now on’,” said Sheriff Hughes.

“They (illegal immigrants) live in constant fear,”
Rich Lopez says most illegal aliens aren't here to cause trouble; they're here to enrich their lives and have a positive impact on society.

“Latinos particularly want to come here and contribute,” said Lopez

But Hughes says a lot of crime can be traced back to people crossing the border, illegally.

“Drug trafficking, illegal aliens, terrorism, the list goes on and on of crimes that are going on because we're not sealing off our border,” commented Sheriff Hughes.

“We do have terrorism threats, we do have drug threats,” added Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions.

But Lopez argues, crime is everywhere.

“These criminals are resident in every culture that lives in our communities,”

Lopez believes most illegal aliens are good-standing people, but are afraid to make themselves known.

“We really, really want to put drug lords out of business. We want to put them in prison but in the majority of cases, people are afraid to step forward because they're going to get arrested and deported,” said Lopez.

In the meantime, all Sheriff Hughes can do is listen to citizen's concerns.

“Know that we're going to do whatever we can to combat illegal immigration here but know that our hands are tied,”

In the 2009 regular session, nine illegal immigration-related bills were introduced in the Alabama state senate. None passed.

But some lawmakers are planning on bringing them up in the next session.

At the federal level, President Obama signed a $600 million bill aimed at strengthening security along the U.S./Mexico border.

The White House says the new money will add 1,500 more personnel, all said to target drug smuggling.

In Friday’s final installment of illegal intrusion, we will examine the controversial immigration law in Arizona and attempt to answer if a similar law could be put in place here.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by curtis baughman Location: dothan on Aug 20, 2010 at 04:07 PM
    cheyenne i think your comment was and is bull sh*t i am a american and i do work everyday and i grow mt own tomatoes and pepers my family owns chicken house they we run so please thank your comment and go back to mexico with them and yes they will leave its just as easy as protesting to the right people and if that dont work will like the saying goes the south will rise again
  • by Luis Location: Enterprise on Aug 20, 2010 at 02:04 PM
    The imigration issue is one of safety and security for our (legal) citizens. Regardless of the country of origin, the color of their skin, their language, their beliefs, their religion, or the intent of these "illegals" the fact remains that the government is failing to secure our borders (by air, by sea and by land, from the north, south, east and west) no different than if we were to fail at securing our house for the safety and security of our children. Crossing a border illegally is just as much a crime as it is breaking and entry so stop trying to justify their crimes. Our citizens demand a secure border, No excuses!
  • by Joseph Location: Dothan on Aug 20, 2010 at 11:52 AM
    My wife is an immigrant who came here legally! They can do the same. I know it is not an easy process but it is worth it. Of course these people should be deported. They want to better themselves and the society, how by sending 70% of their money made to Mexico? A recent poll show that 35 to 40% of Mexico's economy is a direct result from money being wired from illegals. This is why their president scolds us when we try to combat illegal immigration. Why else would he care about our cracking down on immigrants. Try to find a construction job in the wiregrass, it is extremely difficult due to our huge influx of illegals. It is impossible to under bid someone who pays no taxes or unemployment! The apartment complexes are over run with illegals and now we have these Mxican stores providing them with fake ID's. Alabama needs to follow Arizona, the feds can stick it!
  • by Erik Location: Wiregrass on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:05 AM
    cheyenne and ell, I suppose you also support legalizing...say... prostitution? after all, some just do it to go to school or support their families... Both of your attempts to "justify" their actions are pathetic. It does not matter if YOU (and they) consider the LEGAL immigration process long and hard. TOO BAD... millions of others are managing it just fine. If they are being paid pennies to pick my tomatoes, I guess that means you SUPPORT "slave" wages. If they ar highly educated, then their actions already speak to their intelligence level, their judgement is not on par with intelligence. If they are escaping a country under "sanctuary" then why didn't they apply for that protection, your arguments are the typical liberal BULL that is spouted by the ignorant.
  • by Linda Location: Dothan on Aug 20, 2010 at 04:32 AM
    I would like to know why the illegals can go to school with our children and not have to provide records-immunization, or prrof of residence. My child would not be allowed to attend school until this information is provided. What kinds of diseases are being brought in because of this? Does anyone in the government even care. I care and I think they need to follow the same rules as we have to in the school systems.
  • by Dummy Voters on Aug 20, 2010 at 04:28 AM
    Our Government has neglected this problem for a very long time. Now it is being made into a political situation. The fact is Illegal immigration is just that and our leaders are gutless to face up to this fact. Votes are much more important to the current administration than the security of our nation. But they will continue to Blame someone else usually President Bush and raise more Taxes to squander useless projects leaving our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab. The Republicans share equally the blame by allowing this to happen on their watch also.
  • by Cheyenne Location: Enterprise on Aug 19, 2010 at 08:46 PM
    This is bull why can peoplejustleave all of them alone and letthem live a good life like we have here quit being selfish. We are all Gods children and he put us all here to get along not see a difference in each other just because of the color of our skin and the language we speak. Hispanics are not the only ones that are drug dealers or anything in that matter if anything more of the sellers are american. All they are tring to do is give their family something they never had as a child. If it wasnt for them we woldnt have peppers, tomatoes, chicken or anything of that matter cause all the Lazy a** americans out here that are scared to get a little dirt under their nails and sweat on thier shirt. Get over it and realize that they are here and arnt never going anywhere no matter how hard ya'll try. This is not your land and never will be it belongs to one person and that is the Good Lord above. Everyone is free to go where they wish. If u dont like wat i'v said then heres my email above.
  • by ell Location: san francisco on Aug 19, 2010 at 04:50 PM
    there are lot of highly educated, skilled illegal immigrants that they can contribute to the econony if they were given the chance to legalize their stay..they are nurses, doctors, engineers e.t.c.
  • by curtis baughman Location: dothan on Aug 19, 2010 at 04:35 PM
    illegals are breaking the law thats why they are called illegals. And yes they are causeing trouble here in Alabama. Im a sub contractor I have licenses and workman comp with makes it hard on me to bid on jobs when they are here underbiding people No i dont have a problem with them come here and working or living but do it right Uncle Sam is not giving me nor anyother business owner a break so get legal or get out. Riley you have put many poeple out of legal jobs so now do your job and get these illegals out before there is no more jobs or the U.S.A becomes Mexico of America
  • by A. Location: Dothan on Aug 19, 2010 at 02:48 PM
    I am for helping the illegal migrant workers get legal because a lot of people don't realize how difficult it is for them to come here legally. People of other nationalities have it a lot easier. Aside from this, I'd like to comment that while I agree with Rich Lopez, I just want to say that the only reason HE wants to keep them here is to continue to rip them off. To the reporters of the Dothan Eagle, there are far more reputable people you could be interviewing instead of this bozo.
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