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franklin county times

More state officers trained on illegal aliens

By Staff
From staff reports
With the problem of illegal aliens facing communities all over Alabama, Gov. Bob Riley has recently made Alabama one of three states in the nation participating in a federal program that grants local and state jurisdictions the ability to enforce federal immigration law, in other words, allowing state troopers to make immigration arrests.
This week, 16 more state troopers completed federal training enabling them to arrest illegal aliens in Alabama.
Riley, who spoke to the troopers at the conclusion of their training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, stated in a press release the training and authorization allows the troopers, during the course of their regular duties, to question, detain and arrest individuals who are in this country illegally.
"Alabamians are proud that our state is at the forefront of a growing national effort to combat illegal immigration. This cooperative effort allows our state troopers to become force multipliers for America's border security mission," Riley said. "We always welcome those who enter our country legally, but we won't stand idly by and do nothing when we catch illegal aliens – some who have committed crimes like armed robbery, rape and drug smuggling – in our state."
Michael A. Holt, Special-Agent-in-Charge of Immigration and Custom Enforcement's New Orleans office, said partnerships in law enforcement are essential to fighting illegal immigration.
"The Alabama state troopers are building on an already existing strong foundation by agreeing to train and certify law enforcement officers to carry out certain duties that are traditionally handled by federal immigration officers," he said.
The 16 troopers completed a five-week course at the Center for Domestic Preparedness that mirrors the training ICE agents receive. The course focuses exclusively on immigration and nationality law and issues related to its enforcement.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said the illegal immigration problem is so big, it takes everyone's help.
"This is a problem that effects all of us," Hargett said. "We're happy to work with our state troopers to fight the problem, and we welcome their help. We all have to work together on things like this."
Since the first Alabama troopers completed ICE training in 2003, troopers have made 218 arrests of illegal immigrants. Many of those arrested also had previous criminal convictions, including armed robbery, rape and drug smuggling. Others also were charged with crimes such as illegal possession of firearms and Social Security fraud.
In October 2003, the first class of 21 Alabama state troopers completed ICE training; a second class of 23 graduated in November 2005. All three classes were trained at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security training facility in Anniston.
"We're honored to have had the opportunity to once again open our doors to Alabama's responders and to ICE, a sister DHS agency, for this very important training," CDP Director Marion Cain said.
Since 1998, the center has provided training for emergency responders at the federal, state and local levels, delivering high-quality, cutting-edge preparedness training to the nation's emergency responders. The CDP specializes in advanced, hands-on training aimed at preventing, responding to and recovering from terrorist acts, particularly those involving hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction.

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