Since November, the Las Vegas police department has helped initiate deportation proceedings agains nearly 2,000 illegal immigrants who are inmates in the Clark County Detention Center.
In a new partnership that blends criminal law and immigration law enforcement, Las Vegas police report the names of violent offenders believed to be in the U.S. illegally to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Clark County program is narrower in scope than that of Maricopa County in Arizona, where police officers can arrest people for immigration violations. However, once someone has been arrested in Clark County on unrelated charges, they can be screened for possible deportation.
A Las Vegas police spokesman said an inmate’s criminal history affects whether they initiate deportation proceedings. Another 1,800 inmates who are illegal immigrants were not reported because they had no violent criminal history.
Critics of the partnership call it tantamount to racial profiling; they say the police’s double duty will deter Hispanic community members from reporting crimes.