State legislators considering reform of state immigration laws will suggest new powers for the highway patrol. The special House Committee on Immigration Reform says highway patrol officers should become arms of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency…It would be the latest addition to the Patrol’s expanded duties—from drug and crime investigation to casino security and now immigration enforcement. The committee wants the Governor to enter an agreement with the federal government to extend those powers to troopers. State laws defining Patrol duties also would have to be changed. But committee member Ed Wildeberger of St. Joseph says the changes are needed because troopers are in awkward positions when they make a stop and find illegal immigrants. Wildeberger says there isn’t much the trooper can do. He recognizes a related problem that will have to be addressed—where to put the people caught under this program. County jails and state prisons alike already have crowding problems.
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