North Carolina Congresswoman pushes DUI deportation law
A North Carolina Congresswoman has introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that is aimed at undocumented immigrants who are convicted of drunk driving offenses. The proposed measure would make a conviction for driving while impaired an automatic deportable event. The measure has been introduced several times in recent years.
The proposed measure would add a number of steps under federal law related to DWI arrests anywhere in the nation. The bill would require state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone arrested for DWI if the officer has probable cause to believe the arrestee may be undocumented.
Local and state agencies would be given authority under federal law to issue a federal detainer to keep undocumented immigrants in custody after a DWI arrest. The bill would also require continued detention of undocumented immigrants after a DWI arrest.
The Department of Homeland Security would be instructed to prioritize the deportation of any undocumented immigrant who is convicted of a DWI offense anywhere in the country.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing on the measure Wednesday. The bill is not yet scheduled for a markup, which is the next step in the process.
The North Carolina Congresswoman was an original co-sponsor of the bill, which was first introduced in 2005 after a 33-year-old North Carolina man was killed in a car accident and his wife suffered tragic injuries. An undocumented immigrant was reportedly convicted of DWI related to the crash.
Opponents of the federal measure say that it would lead to racial profiling and casts too wide of a net, taking discretion away from federal immigration officials. Opponents also note that the measure would require continued custody of people based solely upon the DWI arrest.
Source: WECT, “Local lawyers against bill to deport illegal immigrants immediately,” Nadine Maeser, March 14, 2012