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Escondido Police Under Fire

Many More Undocumented Latinos Nabbed Than Drunks At DUI Checkpoints

Evening Edition

Aired 3/12/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Jim Maher, Chief of Police, City of Escondido

John Carlos Frey, Freelance Investigative Journalist/Documentary Filmmaker

Cynthia Buiza, Policy Director, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties,

Transcript

Tow contract and impound fee by year in Escondido.

Above: Tow contract and impound fee by year in Escondido.

ESCONDIDO -- On a spring morning in 2010, Leticia dropped two of her children at their Escondido school and continued on to run errands with her 4-year-old daughter. Before long, she was stopped at a police checkpoint.

According to retired San Diego police officer Carlos Ronquillo, who witnessed the incident, Escondido Police were conducting a DUI checkpoint at 9:30 in the morning.

Because she did not have a driver’s license, Leticia (not her real name) was suspected of being an undocumented immigrant and officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were notified.

Ronquillo watched as Leticia was handcuffed and separated from her 4 year old, a U.S. citizen. Within hours, the 34-year-old mother of four was taken to an immigration holding facility, processed, and deported to Tijuana. After living in Escondido for more than 10 years, Leticia was separated from her four children for the first time.

Critics say Escondido used the state-financed DUI checkpoints mostly as a means to crack down on undocumented immigrants. Escondido changed the controversial practice earlier this year after a new state law regulating vehicle impounds took effect. But immigrant advocates remain rankled by the practice.

Escondido has a population of 145,000, 49 percent of whom are Latino. In the past several years, the city council has enacted ordinances and legislation directly targeting the growing Latino and undocumented-immigrant population.

In 2006, landlords were banned from renting to anyone without proof of legal residency – a restriction quickly struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. Soon after, restrictions on food carts and parking in Latino neighborhoods were proposed. Tension between the city and the Latino and immigrant population escalated.

Escondido City Manager's Reaction

Escondido City Manager Clay Phillips issued a statement on March 13: “The City made every effort to ensure the towing fees we established reflect our costs. However, to address questions raised by the media, I have asked the Finance Department to conduct a review of our towing fees. I expect I will have that review by March 29th.”

KPBS Evening Edition

Escondido Police Chief Responds to Story

Above: Jim Maher, chief of police for the city of Escondido, and John Carlos Frey, the author of the story, talk with "Evening Edition."

Document

Tow Contract Fee Analysis

Tow Contract Fee Analysis

Summary of tow contract costs as reported per ...

Document

Executive Summary of Proposal

Executive Summary of Proposal

An executive summary of the city of Escondido's ...

Then in 2010, Escondido police joined efforts with ICE in an exclusive agreement known as “Operation Joint Effort.” This close association helped Escondido police use ICE during DUI checkpoints to check for immigration status.

The checkpoints net about 10 unlicensed drivers for every drunk driver; and the vast majority of unlicensed drivers are undocumented immigrants.

In the past three years, Escondido and tow companies with city contracts have pulled in $11 million in fees, citations and auctioned vehicles from checkpoints.

According to ICE, Escondido is the only city in the country to have a special agreement to notify ICE agents about illegal immigrant suspects. ICE agents have an office at the Escondido Police Department and are on standby during sobriety checkpoints.

The State of California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) provides grants to fund DUI checkpoints throughout California. Escondido Police insist that checking a driver’s license at DUI checkpoints is mandatory in order to qualify for state grants. But an OTS spokesman said that they “do not penalize a grantee for not checking (a driver’s license).”

According to Escondido resident Bill Flores, a retired assistant sheriff for San Diego County, the checkpoints unfairly target immigrants.

“It is a way for the police department to make it so hard for them to live here that they will move somewhere else,” he said.

Responding on KPBS radio and television today, Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher characterized this story as shoddy journalism and that the facts presented are out of context. Maher also said his department's relationship with his city's Latino community is "excellent."

One of the conditions of the OTS grant program, which awards $350,000 per year to Escondido, is that profits cannot be generated from checkpoints. Also, by law the state of California does not allow police agencies to make a profit from towing cars; only to recoup expenses.

Yet an extensive review of city and police documents reveals that Escondido has been profiting immensely from both state-funded DUI checkpoints and towing of cars.

In order to be able to tow vehicles for the city of Escondido, a tow company had to pay the city $25,000 in 2004. By 2007, the fee was up to $50,000; and by 2011, it reached $100,000. After tow companies demanded justification for the steep increase, the city recently reduced the fees. Each of the six tow companies now pays the city $75,000, a total of $450,000 per year.

There’s a reason that tow companies are willing to pay so much to be included. During the past eight years of state-funded DUI checkpoints, they made millions of dollars.

On average, 5,000 vehicles were towed each year from 2004 to 2011. Unlicensed drivers in Escondido were being caught by the thousands and each one represented an impound fee, a tow hitch fee, and a 30-day impound storage fee totaling about $2,000 per vehicle.

In 2007, according to Escondido Police documents, the department considered starting their own city-run tow yard so that they could keep most of the revenue. Escondido abandoned the venture, but it was clear that the city was interested in increasing profits from state-funded checkpoints and the towing of cars – profits that are illegal.

State law requires that Escondido police justify tow fees and bill the tow companies only to recoup the direct costs of towing cars. In order to substantiate the $450,000 they receive from the tow companies, the Escondido police department has had to employ what some label creative accounting.

A 2011 city report lists as towing expenses items such as bulletproof vests, weapons and wear and tear on police radios, cell phones and vehicles. These line items represent at least 60 percent of expenses for the towing program.

To justify raising tow-contract fees, the Escondido Police Department has also reported that the amount of labor involved in a tow has substantially increased. According to 2004 and 2007 tow-program reports, the department said it would take a total of 33 minutes of labor to tow a vehicle, including paperwork. But by 2011, the police department claimed it took 187.5 minutes.

Marcos Ramirez, a retired sergeant who handled traffic safety for the San Diego County Sheriff’s department, said this doesn’t add up.

“There is no need to bill for so much time to tow a vehicle,” said Ramirez. “Either Escondido is looking to pad their books, or they don’t know how to tow a car. If it took my officers that long to tow a vehicle, they would be fired.”

In addition to collecting $450,000 a year from tow companies as well as the $350,000 in grant money from the OTS, Escondido also collects a $180 impound fee from the owner of each car. For the ICE-related tows, that amounts to an average of about $500,000 a year.

Yet, the state grant for DUI checkpoints is all-inclusive, intended to cover officer labor time and equipment. It would appear therefore that Escondido is making an illegal profit off of every checkpoint tow.

This past year, Escondido reduced its impound fees from $180 to $100 for cars that were towed from OTS checkpoints. Repeated requests were made for documents justifying the reduction in fees. But Escondido officials say the documents do not exist.

Research support for this story was provided by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

Comments

Avatar for user 'BenFromCA'

BenFromCA | March 12, 2012 at 9:03 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Since when are bigoted, unethical police officers a surprise, instead of the norm?

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 12, 2012 at 9:10 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

First, if there was a 9:30 a.m. checkpoint, it probably was not labeled a DUI checkpoint. And if it was, it was not paid for by the state grant, since they limit DUI checkpoints to after 6:00 p.m. Second, not all impounds come from DUI checkpoints, which is the implication here. Most come from regular street patrols and other actions. Also the tows are for everything - impounds from non-licensed, impounds from suspended or revoked licenses, crashed cars, abandoned or stripped cars, stolen cars, every instance in which a car has to be taken from the roadway.

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Avatar for user 'Perp'

Perp | March 12, 2012 at 10:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow. What a totally biased and propaganda laden article. What ever happened to un-biased news reporting? Interesting how the only person interviewed was a Latino employee of some other agency who knows absolutely nothing about the operations of Escondido. It is a fact that unlicensed drivers cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage each year, not to mention death and serious injury. They carry no insurance, and quite often flee the scene of their accident. This article seems to support someones personal agenda rather than and un-biased report. The law-breakers are getting away with murder (technically manslaughter), while those responsible individuals who follow our society's laws suffer both physically and financially. Thank god those police are being proactive enough to do something about it.

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Avatar for user 'ohhithere'

ohhithere | March 12, 2012 at 10:33 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Agreed Perp. He must be an NCTimes fan.

Look, the woman has been breaking the law for 10 years by being here. She's breaking the law by having no DL, and most likely, no insurance. The author shoots for sympathy instead of saying the truth: "A criminal was caught and deported."

Many latinos have immigrated to the US legally. Why can't the latino community support legal immigration and respect for the laws of a country they clearly look up to? Why must the latino community support breaking the law, then crying foul when they're caught? Where are the real leaders in the latino community who want to work to better the community they're apart of, not solely support their own defined by color and race, thus creating a racial divide in communities they become a large part of?

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Avatar for user 'whyowhy'

whyowhy | March 12, 2012 at 10:34 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

No one responded to the story from the Mayor's Office or Police Department? Are you sure about that. I seem to remember that the author of this story spent about 2 hours at a checkpoint with one of our lieutenant's. I'm pretty sure they were not standing around staring at each other. There was quite a bit of talking going on. I think this reporter is choosing to remember only what works out best for his story.

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Avatar for user 'MayaFrida'

MayaFrida | March 12, 2012 at 11:13 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Finally great to see the media covering what the EPD is really doing. Their intentions are coming to light. Regardless where one stands on the immigration issue, it is disturbing that the police continues to try to pull off these checkpoints as only a means to stop DUIs. No one is pro-drunk driving. Let's be honest here. Also, it's quick to say someone should not be here when one was born or given the privilege of US citizenship. Yet, where is your humanity in family separation? The EPD is being shady here, people. WAKE UP! I don't want to live in a police state, do you? Their target may first be undocumented folk, but then who's their next target?

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Avatar for user 'Natalie Walsh'

Natalie Walsh, KPBS Staff | March 12, 2012 at noon ― 2 years, 4 months ago

whyowhy,
Thanks for commenting on the story. The journalist, John Carlos Frey, called both Escondido's mayor's office and police department last week to seek additional comments or interviews. No one responded to his request. However, Police Chief Jim Maher will be a guest on Midday Edition and Evening Edition today to comment on the story.

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Avatar for user 'EscoDave'

EscoDave | March 12, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I am a 25 year resident of Escondido and have seen how out of control the EPD have become. They turn a blind eye to the actual criminals and crimes being commited on a daily basis. They have put in place a policy to shakedown the citizens who present the lowest amount of resistance, which allows for them to keep their arrest statistics on par with state reqirements without having to deal with violent offenders.
I agree that both undocumented immigrants and unlicensed drivers are breaking the laws, but they should be a much lower priority compared to the violent crime that is perpetrated on a daily basis. We have a terrible problem with car theft, DRUGS, assault, burglary, gangs, and rape. There is no money to be made stopping these crimes, so they are never stopped. The sad state of affairs is as long as there is an ever increasing crime rate, the EPD will continue to bolster their numbers flying a false flag of law enforcement. There is also a conflict of interest between city hall and the EPD (City council woman Olga Diaz is married to high ranking Escondido Police Officer Neal Griffin) so there is no accountabilty at a city government level. The EPD now has carte blanche to opress the law abiding citizens while letting the actual criminals run wild on our city. EPD have become FUNDRAISERS and not crime fighters.

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Avatar for user 'MarilynMo'

MarilynMo | March 12, 2012 at 12:20 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm a liberal, and I don't actually have a problem with this person being reported to ICE. I would think as a police officer you have to assume that ICE has their act together.

I don't understand whether it's legal to automatically stop people in this type of checkpoint when there's no 'probable cause'. Also, why is there a DUI checkpoint at 9:30 in the morning? Seems like DUI is a euphemism for immigration.

Also the point that these checkpoints are financially beneficial for Escondido police and their partners is very wrong. Incentives seem completely misaligned here.

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Avatar for user 'MayaFrida'

MayaFrida | March 12, 2012 at 12:32 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I just heard the interview with the police chief and director. Is the chief always that hostile? EscoDave, you are correct. My car was also stolen in Escondido and I don't feel that the EPD did anything to help find my car. Their priorities are misguided and too much focus is given to these checkpoints. Get the real criminals!

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Avatar for user 'Satariel'

Satariel | March 12, 2012 at 12:38 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Did anyone else notice that MayaFrida (latin name) is the only one who has a problem with this?

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Avatar for user 'CarlosEscondido'

CarlosEscondido | March 12, 2012 at 12:43 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

The article reminds me of Martin Niemöller, who wrote:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."

Social injustice develops and thrives when we quietly accept it. The EPD along with its supporters in the Mayor's Office, has a long, well-documented, pattern of misconduct, bigotry and other unbecoming behavior. Indeed, the City has, on at least two occasions, been ordered by Federal courts to pay hefty legal fees in connection with its unlawful practices. Here, it would appear, the EPD aided by its endorsers, are engaging in fraud by applying for funds intended for other purposes; is manipulating accouting documents to circumvent existing rules and laws, and quite possibly is utilizing the funds to pay bonuses to its higher ranking members. All at the expense and misery of undocumented aliens.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 12, 2012 at 1:25 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

CarlosEscondido, when the Germans came for all those you mention in the quote, they came to kill them. No one is killing illegal immigrants. They are returning them to their home country. BIG difference. We can speak of the other points, like fiscal responsibility, but don't try to make this a Holocaust twin.

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Avatar for user 'Studying_Nomad'

Studying_Nomad | March 12, 2012 at 1:49 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Honestly, I'm not that interested/involved in the immigration debate. However, I've gone through five DUI check points throughout the country during in my life, and I've never been asked for my driver’s license.

I'm in SD, but I've witnessed ridiculous situations that involved the Police and towing vehicles. I'm convinced they make something from it. I’m also of the belief that there is some kind of incentive for the Police to be more involved in vehicular citations than in dealing with crimes. A woman was grabbed off of the street in the gas lamp, pulled into a vehicle, woke up at the beach with no money and the police asked her what exactly she expected them (the POLICE!) to do about it since she didn’t know who did it. I understand that being a Police Officer is a difficult job, but I would like to live in a city where I feel like the Police are more interested in protecting the citizens rather than making money off of them.

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Avatar for user 'SDlaugher'

SDlaugher | March 12, 2012 at 11:45 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I listened to the chief also. He came across like a pompous a$$. Another example of a highly paid government official who has no care for those who he is supposedly serves.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 13, 2012 at 8:03 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Ohhithere, yeah, and I'll bet you were among those who bitterly opposed CA DL's for undocumented people!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 13, 2012 at 8:07 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Did anyone else notice that SATARIEL (a stupid moniker) is the only one who making a dumb comment?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 13, 2012 at 8:13 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

There is a report on this in the print edition of THE NATION not mentioned in this article.

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Avatar for user 'SDsurfer'

SDsurfer | March 13, 2012 at 8:51 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I just want to thank Escondido Police for doing a great job!! Keep it up.

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Avatar for user 'astrofan'

astrofan | March 13, 2012 at 9:01 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

This is the tease on KPBS homepage for this segment, "Escondido Police criticized for its practice of using DUI checkpoints to identify and deport undocumented residents."

Uh, shouldn't that be its "alleged" practice or has KPBS decided they're guilty? Talk about bias.

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Avatar for user 'StanleyPeterson'

StanleyPeterson | March 13, 2012 at 10:07 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Give me a break!! The times I have witnessed these check points. The police have used the DUI checkpoints for (drunks, drugies) no license driver, insurance or any form of ID. Some these drivers should be taken off the streets (for safety reasons) . Some of these "jokers" leave a scene of a accident without ever being caught.. In my opinion, the police officers have always been very professsional. So when I hear of the "Nutz" from the ACLU, attack our police (Serve & Protect). They must be doing something right! Do I hear an Amen???? ..........................................Ufta!

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Avatar for user 'Tammy Carpowich'

Tammy Carpowich, KPBS Staff | March 13, 2012 at 11:08 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Glad to see this is inspiring such a lively discussion! Just want to remind everyone that we expect conversations on KPBS.org to be civil. I'm seeing a few instances of things starting to get personal. I know you can keep this about the issue... Thanks!

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Avatar for user 'Tammy Carpowich'

Tammy Carpowich, KPBS Staff | March 13, 2012 at 11:08 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@astrofan, I passed your comment along to our editorial team. I can't speak to your question, but I'm sure someone will respond shortly.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | March 13, 2012 at 11:45 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Satariel and offramp raise good points. However, it shouldn't be surprising that someone with a "latin name" takes an interest in this story and advocates - surprise! -for Latinos. MayaFrida's championing of Latino causes is no different than any other special-interest advocacy groups. We allow for advocacy of special-interests for other countries, AIPAC, and no one bats an eye. Does anyone have a problem with the fact that the architects of the current Middle-East strategy have Jewish surnames? Could Obama get away with making a speech about our country's "unshakeable alliance" with Mexico and Latin America? If not, why not? Fair is fair.

Since we're being relativists, let's consider offramp's point. Illegal immigrants do not come to our country with plans to kill and conquer. Their being here is an economic fact of life in the lower rungs of our shared labor market. As he says, BIG difference.

Americans of all ethnic heritages deserve access to politics. Debates become bigoted when people make relative arguments when condemning some groups and special interests while supporting others absolutely.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 13, 2012 at 11:54 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@offramp | yesterday at 1:25 p.m. ― 22 hours, 13 minutes ago
*"CarlosEscondido, when the Germans came for all those you mention in the quote, they came to kill them. No one is killing illegal immigrants. They are returning them to their home country. BIG difference. We can speak of the other points, like fiscal responsibility, but don't try to make this a Holocaust twin."*

offramp, I wouldn't be so sure about your point. Many of the virulent anti-immigrant crowd does indeed want to murder illegal immigrants.

It's a harsh charge, but I will back it up.

(1) Minutemen and other radical anti-immigrant groups have engaged in despicable actions in the past where they deliberately pour out and destroy water sources left in areas known for people dying of dehydration in the desert.

(2) I have seen many comments from radical posters (many of whom frequent the Pravda SD UT which I ceased reading in any form about 6 months ago) who with seriousness say they want border fences with poisoned sharp tips atop, armed drones that will kill on the spot, and even the use of biologic weapons against border crossers

(3) In Arizona, Rep. Sylvia Allen (R), Snowflake, a woman who (on record) thinks the Earth is only 6000 years old, has proposed a bill in that state that would arm citizen militias to patrol the border. She wants volunteers to kill illegal immigrants. (look up the article KPBS ran on this bill).

The only thing that is saving us from not being like a tyranical regime that engages in genocide against immigrants is that the rank and file of our government are against such a policy.

There are, however, many radical citizens and extremist minorities in our government (like Ms. Allen and other "tea party" politicians). It's pretty scary to think what could happen if these tea party and minuteman types actually gained a majority of power in our government. We would likely see genocide on par with some of the worst regimes in history.

Some may dismiss my post as being overly-dramatic and one of those things that "could never happen here", but many societies in history have seen their civilizations deteriorate into murderous brutality by assuming it would "never happen there". Look at the rhetoric from the extremists and even some in our government - **they do, indeed, advocate killing illegal immigrants!**

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Avatar for user 'jenjen'

jenjen | March 13, 2012 at 12:50 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

The problem that I have with this is that this is grant money that is supposed to be dedicated to a specific problem: combating DUIs. But it is being used in a nudge-nudge wink-wink fashion for a completely different purpose. How many drunks are really being taken off the street at 9:30 AM? Every hour they staff doing a checkpoint that's really about immigrants is an hour they can't afford to run during the hours when it would make a difference for catching drunks. ICE has its own budget and resources. The police should not be allowed to take money that's designated for a specific public safety problem and just do whatever they want with it. The allegations of profit-making on the whole enterprise just makes it stink even more.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 13, 2012 at 2:27 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Jenjen, well said I agree with you and think you nailed the crux of the issue.

If a law enforcement agency has to do their work under the guise of something else, the system is broken and something dirty is going on.

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Avatar for user 'Natalie Walsh'

Natalie Walsh, KPBS Staff | March 13, 2012 at 3:13 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

astrofan,

Here is Police Chief Maher's response to the question of whether the DUI checkpoints are opportunities to check for immigration status:

"It’s possible for somebody at the checkpoint to get stopped, to be suspected of being illegal and we’ll notify ICE. We ask ICE to be available."

He says this on-camera in the top video story on this page.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 13, 2012 at 5:33 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

jenjen, you would have a point, except that the 9:30 a.m. checkpoint was neither a DUI checkpoint nor grant funded. It was an Escodido PD traffic safety checkpoint.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 13, 2012 at 5:51 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Peking_Duck_SD, I'm sorry, I just can't go there. There are so many variations of extreme viewpoints and outright threats out there on the fringes, all the fringes, that I can't take any one seriously or I would have to take all seriously. Until one actually takes hold with something more than tiny minority, I won't treat fears of it as anything more than "the sky is falling."

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 14, 2012 at 10:04 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

Well said, DE LA RICK, however, one minor point, SATYRIEL wants to lump all Latinos together, pretending that there is no such thing as a Latino who takes the restrictionist position on immigration.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 14, 2012 at 10:08 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@DUCK, you forgot State Assembyman Peck, Repuke of Kansas, who was quoted as saying "shoot them like wild pigs." Now can you imagine a politician, even a state politician saying such things abour African-Americans or the gays and everyone being pretty much passive about it?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 14, 2012 at 10:11 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@DUCK many of the posters on UT and KFMB are simply AM Hate Radio-listening cowards and would be the first to urinate.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | March 15, 2012 at 10:09 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

It's not okay to drive without a license or auto insurance. Having a license indicates you have passed a written rules-of-the-road test, a practical driving skill test, a vision test, that you agree to comply with DUI & drug testing, and you are on record so that should an officer run your information your driving history and identity can be verified. If you don't have a license you can't purchase insurance and do I need to explain what kind of problems that creates?

Check points help catch people who are not complying with the law and the statistics show that unlicensed drivers are much more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, hit and runs. That fatality could be a friend, a spouse, your children, or you. It is in the best interest of our society to enforce these very practical and sensible laws in my opinion.

I've lived in CA for quite a few years now and I guess I shouldn't be shocked at how much flap this kind of thing this causes by now. This state has so many people with an attittude of entitlement, really hyper-individualistic, no matter what the cost that brings to everyone else. Is it bigoted to want reasonable laws enforced? Apparently in CA it has become so.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | March 16, 2012 at 9:29 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

A sad case all around. Like many people looking for a better life she came to America. But she did it illegally because we've been so relaxed over this issue. She came illegally because others do and that's the way it's always been. That still doesn't make it right.

To complain that our police can't report suspected illegal immigrants to ICE is ridiculous. Their job is to uphold the law.

This is another example of why the people of Mexico and other Third World nations need to do more to force their governments to operate better so they won't feel the need to enter a nation illegally. In Mexico they throw illegal immigrants in the river and brand them on their foreheads with disparaging names. Doesn't make it right and doesn't make us any better.

But it can't go on like this.

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Avatar for user 'E'

E | March 16, 2012 at 2:37 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I won't call the police for any reason anymore, even though I'm American born. I don't feel I can trust them enough to feel safe around them. It's hard to understand how the vetting process is failing to screen out certain academy applicants and recruits; there's this rampant sociopathy among police officers today, particularly among ICE agents, notorious for egocentric disregard of their own conscience. At least require character and integrity in police officers and US agents. Who would ask for more than that?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 19, 2012 at 9:29 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@Randalphslinsky,

"This state has so many people with an attittude of entitlement, really hyper-individualistic"

According to Rightwingers, entitlements can be anything from food stamps, AFDC, Social Security, to Medicare. "Hyper-individualistic" is what? Rugged individualism? Isn't that a part of Right ideology? Your statement contradicts itself.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 19, 2012 at 9:36 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

DAVID 65 said: "we've been so relaxed over this issue"

Where have YOU been since the Clinton-implemented Operation Gatekeeper and even more so since September 11th?

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | March 19, 2012 at 11:14 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@missionaccomplished - Since I'm a registered Democrat I won't speak for the "right-wingers" on those issues that you refer to. However, as an American citizen who has lived in various places here in the US and abroad, I do feel that Americans in general are hyper-individualistic, and Californians in particular. Sometimes there are benefits to that; sometimes it creates unrealistic burdens and unnecessary rifts in our society - that is my opinion. As far as entitlements go - protesting the police taking your car, arresting you, fining you, even contacting the authorities to have you deported if you're here illegally - I don't know what else a rational person would expect? Interesting enough, in today's UT a man was awarded $7.5 million after being hit by a person here illegally. "Rowley said that the van’s driver, Pedro Flores Miramontes, was a non-U.S. citizen who had an expired driver’s license and had never been trained as a shuttle driver." While we can't prevent things like this from happening regardless of what we do, we certainly don't have to encourage it or tolerate it when we find it.

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Avatar for user 'RJBood'

RJBood | March 19, 2012 at 2:56 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

I am a legal resident and naturalized citizen of the United States. I am proud of immigrating here properly and legally. I have no problem with checkpoints and will proudly prove my legal status and valid drivers license to any officer. The only people who have problems with this type of law enforcement are the illegal immigrants and criminals worried about being caught. Keep it up Escondido, hopefully the rest of the state will follow.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 20, 2012 at 10:28 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

<p>@R.J. BOO, by your logic, the Nation Institute, which funded Frey's reporting an dresearch must be full of "illegals." LOL LOL LOL

"The only people who have problems with this type of law enforcement are the illegal immigrants and criminals worried about being caught." Maybe take Logic 101 at your local community college?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 20, 2012 at 2:15 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

David65, I think the issue of "relaxed" border security is only part of what drives people to come here illegally.

The other part is ow unrealistic and cumbersome our legal process is.

The legal process is only accessible to people who can afford costly immigration attorneys and have years to spare filling out endless paperwork.

Our country benefits from laborers who come here, and those people typically do not have the means to utilize the legal process.

It angers me when I hear the argument *"why don't they just come here legally like I did, or like my friend did, or like me neighbor did, etc."*.

It's a bogus argument because like many other things in our society, the legal process only favors the privileged and excludes all others.

I have advocated for a 3 point immigration reform in this country, and it will only succeed if **all three** occur:

(1) legal immigration reform
(2) amnesty
(3) increased border security that doesn't interfere with binational economic activity

I addressed the need for legal reform above.

Next comes amnesty. We need to get over the stigma of this word and be practical - **there is no physical, economic, or constitutional way to seek-out and deport 11 million illegal immigrants. Period.**

The sooner we can collectively realize this and start from a blank slate, the sooner we can accomplish real, controlled reform.

The vast majority of those who are already here will stay here, regardless. To me it makes much more sense to admit this, and endthe expensive and fruitless cat and mouse round-up game. We can use those resources and funds on the border itself.

The reason amnesty failed under Reagan is because Reagan didn't employ the other two things I proposed, in particular reforming the legal process of immigrating to our country.

Once our law enforcement is freed from chasing around illegal immigrants in our cities and towns, they will be free to concentrate on our border.

And, once the legal process is made more reasonable, we will see those crossing illegally decline, making border control a much easier process.

We don't need fences and barricades and all these costly, useless things, we just need a little common sense with the legal process and a realization that those who are already here need to be chalked up to a failed immigration policy and we need to move on from demonizing and trying to deport them all.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | March 21, 2012 at 10:52 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

@Peking - I can't agree with conclusions, it is certainly not a bogus argument to make that people should come here legally. I find saving the money to buy a Porsche to be difficult too, so by your reasoning should I just steal one?

While deporting everyone who is here illegally may not be practical or possible at this point, it's utterly ridiculous to call check point stops as some kind of cat and mouse game. Cops can't possibly catch every person who drinks and drives either, but we don't give up on trying.

Laws, we need them, and we need to enforce them for the safety and progression of our society - otherwise we can be just like all the third worldish places so many come here from, places most of you wouldn’t want to live.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | March 21, 2012 at 3:33 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

"Laws, we need them ..."

Lots of laws aren't very good. The "Stand Your Ground" law is just one example of many. Even so, no one is suggesting that laws not be enforced. Our country's borders are clearly defined and immigration laws should be enforced. However, if a sweep of illegal immigrants is the objective, don't call it a DUI checkpoint. Call it what it is. There is always a humane solution to human problems. In this case, it lies between brown-shirt style intrusions and total amnesty.

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Avatar for user 'linearsalt'

linearsalt | June 22, 2013 at 8:25 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm no friend of the police but in this article it looks like they are doing a good and very needed job of getting rid of the Mexicans. You can be very sure that the Mexican mother of three kids didn't work and was raking in welfare cash for each one.

California tax payers pay over $15 BILLION dollars each year for public services(i.e. welfare) given to illegal Mexicans and their numerous dependents. Remember that the next time you see a Mexican breeder dragging around her batch of kids. YOU and your family are paying for that.

I hate to praise police because 9 times out of 10 they don't deserve any, but give the Devil his due, here they most certainly deserve all our praise and gratitude for getting rid of these Mexican illegals.

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