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Proposed immigration bill may cause problems

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November 24, 2003

Moultrie - Georgia Senator Zell Miller is proposing a bill to allow local and state law enforcers to arrest suspected illegal immigrants.

Moultrie Police Chief Mike Boyd says the proposal could cause several problems. He says many local agencies lack bilingual officers and proper training on federal immigration laws.

It could also create a manpower shortage if officers had to travel to Atlanta to testify in federal court. Chief Boyd explains, "We are strapped for manpower, we have a lot of issues we have to deal with, and simply drafting local law enforcement to help supplement federal agencies without proper funding on our end wouldn't be fair."

On the positive side, Chief Boyd says the proposal could improve communication between law enforcement agencies and federal immigration officers.

Often local officers contact federal immigration officers about a suspected illegal immigrant, but because of staffing shortages at I.N.S. federal officials seldom come to get them.

posted at 6:00PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com