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Changing Boundaries of Law Enforcement: State and Local Law Enforcement, Illegal Immigration and Transnational Crime Control, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
32 pages
Publication Series
This paper presents findings from an exploratory survey regarding how State and local law enforcement agencies have responded to transnational crime and illegal immigration.
The survey involved interviews with just over 250 American, Mexican, and Canadian Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials; field observations with law enforcement agencies along the U.S.-Mexican border in San Diego, CA, as well as Laredo and McAllen-Brownsville, TX; participation in four meetings of the U.S.-Mexico Border States Attorneys General Conference; and eight conferences/working groups of experts who were addressing the problems and potential solutions regarding either or both illegal immigration and transnational crime. The research indicates that State and local law enforcement agencies are making an independent contribution to the fight against transnational criminality and are willing to play a supportive and primarily criminal-law-enforcement role in dealing with immigration issues. State and local agencies maintain an international police intelligence network independent of Federal control, and many State and local law enforcement agencies operate worldwide web sites with photographs and information regarding wanted criminals. Law enforcement cooperation at the Federal, State, and local levels between the United States and Canadian agencies is highly institutionalized, including allowing agencies to access each other's intelligence systems and participating in joint planning and policy review discussions to maximize regional enforcement coverage. Law enforcement cooperation at the State and local levels between the United States and Mexico is not well institutionalized, however. In most places it is fragile and dependent upon personal and professional friendships and is subject to disruption or cooling with personnel changes or political events; however, there are signs of progress in improving and institutionalizing cooperation. State and local law enforcement agencies are assisting the Federal Government with immigration enforcement through participation in multiagency task forces and by checking the immigration records of arrestees through an INS checking program begun in 1994. 7 tables, 66 references, and 49 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1999