Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Dallas Morning News Gets it Wrong. Again.

Did you see the headline in the Metro section of today's paper about Farmers Branch and our acceptance into the 287(g) program? (Probably not, I know alot of you have cancelled your subscriptions.) No? It's because it wasn't there, it was replaced with a headline that read:

"Farmers Branch Denied Entry into Program to Identify, Deport Jailed Immigrants"

What a clever, sly way for the DMN to distort the truth. What has happened to telling the truth? Everywhere I turn, people are twisting words and misstated facts in order to deceive us. Candidates are doing it, newspaper editors are doing it...when did people quit being honest?

I'm going to tell you the truth. The truth that the Dallas Morning News reporter heard in our City Council study session last night, and even mentioned in the second sentence of the article that directly refutes the headline.

The Federal Government has a program called 287(g) that allows non-federal law enforcement agencies to partner with ICE to identify and deport illegal immigrants. There are two components of this program: one that would place one or more ICE agents on-site with a local or state criminal detention center, and one that would train and empower local law enforcement to perform the investigations into suspected illegal aliens and begin the deportation process.

The City of Farmers Branch requested to be a part of 287(g) about 18 months ago, filled out all requisite paperwork, and waited. And waited some more. We were finally told that ICE didn't have the budget dollars to satisfy all the requests they had received for participation in 287(g), and that while we wouldn't get to participate in the program which placed an ICE agent on-site at our local jail, we would get to participate in the program where an FB Police Detective would be trained and empowered by ICE to investigate illegal aliens and begin the deportation process.

We were not "denied entry into the program" as the DMN wants you to believe. That's like saying I had wanted to by a ticket to a Dallas Cowboys game to sit in section 110, but instead got a ticket to sit in section 114, and the DMN running the headline "Tim Scott Denied Ticket to Cowboys Game." Very misleading.

Under the 287(g) program, we will have an FB Police Detective trained by ICE, who, in addition to their normal duties, will have full authority to carry out ICE investigations on the status of suspected illegal immigrants, and will represent FB in a joint ICE Task Force in the DFW Metroplex.

This will be on top of aggressive utilization of the CAP program, where each person brought to the FB Criminal Detention Center is asked about their legal residency status, and all suspected illegal aliens are turned over to ICE for processing. To date, we have handed over to ICE more than 600 illegal aliens for processing, or approximately 15% of all incarcerated individuals.

In Farmers Branch, this City Council and staff are maximizing all avenues available to us to enforce the law and make our city safe.

And we're telling the truth.



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