Sher­iff Vic Regalado on im­mi­gra­tion and pub­lic en­gage­ment

La Semana - - REGIONAL -

ENGLISH

On Novem­ber 13, Regalado par­tic­i­pated in a sym­po­sium on im­mi­gra­tion so­lu­tions at Edi­son High School, af­ter which he dis­cussed with La Se­m­ana his de­part­ment’s on­go­ing chal­lenges and his thoughts on bor­der se­cu­rity and im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Regalado said he was im­pressed by the ques­tions the stu­dents asked and was glad to have the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in a civil dis­cus­sion about a topic around which emo­tions of­ten run high and tem­pers hot.

“You could tell the stu­dents spent some look­ing into it and fact find­ing, and most im­pres­sive was their crit­i­cal think­ing,” the sher­iff said. “It was re­ally a won­der­ful pro­gram and I wish a lot of schools would do that.”

Regalado said one stu­dent asked him about re­ports on so­cial me­dia that TCSO of­fi­cers ask peo­ple they en­counter in the field about their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus, a claim the sher­iff in­sists is “a to­tal false­hood.”

“Out­side of the jail, one, we have no im­mi­gra­tion pow­ers, and two, it’s not good law en­force­ment to do that be­cause it’s such a slip­pery slope that can lead into bad things like ra­cial pro­fil­ing,” the sher­iff said, urg­ing any­one who ex­pe­ri­ences this to con­tact his of­fice im­me­di­ately.

Regalado ac­knowl­edged on­go­ing crit­i­cism that the 287(g) pro­gram could en­snare some in­di­vid­u­als guilty of only mi­nor of­fenses, es­pe­cially those brought in by ICE over which he says he has no con­trol. He noted that the im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment pri­or­i­ties un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion have changed, and that where for­merly only those charged with se­ri­ous crimes were tar­geted for ar­rest and de­por­ta­tion, to­day any un­doc­u­mented per­son ICE en­coun­ters in the course of look­ing for crim­i­nals is also likely to be de­tained.

“I’d like to see us get away from that,” Regalado said. “I’d like to see us go back to a pri­or­ity list be­cause I think it’s a waste of re­sources right now.”

The sher­iff said he is con­tin­u­ing to make his of­fice more ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic, and one way he and his of­fi­cers are do­ing that is by par­tic­i­pat­ing in as many com­mu­nity events as pos­si­ble.

“Hav­ing taken of­fice, we’ve made it a point to en­gage every com­mu­nity,” Regalado said. “We were some­what closed off here, in my opin­ion.”

Regalado said in the be­gin­ning he was of­ten in­struct­ing his deputies as to which events they should have a pres­ence at, but that now his of­fi­cers are bring­ing sug­ges­tions to him.

“That’s when I knew we’d turned a cor­ner,” he said.

The sher­iff also pointed to the ci­ti­zens re­view board he cre­ated as an­other way his ad­min­is­tra­tion has sought to be more trans­par­ent than that of his pre­de­ces­sor.

The sher­iff said he wants mem­bers of the pub­lic, re­gard­less of their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus, to know that they can call his of­fice to re­port any crime they wit­ness or are the vic­tim of, es­pe­cially do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. He said Tulsa’s His­panic com­mu­nity is by large peace­ful and law abid­ing, and he does not in­clude a num­ber of ac­cused heroin deal­ers ar­rested here as be­ing part of this com­mu­nity, but rather are “car­tel em­ploy­ees just work­ing here as crim­i­nals.”

With the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son al­ready upon us, Regalado warned the pub­lic to be aware of their sur­round­ings and not leave gifts vis­i­ble in their cars.

“Be safe, and Feliz Navi­dad,” the sher­iff urged. (La Se­m­ana)

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