We’ve been hearing a lot about how immigration enforcement intersects with local law enforcement. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. Now we’ll hear from our West Side bureau about a suburban Chicago man who got tangled up with immigration enforcement after a arrest. He has filed a suit that offers a novel challenge to one of President Obama’s key immigration-enforcement programs. MITCHELL: There’s no doubt James Makowski of Clarendan Hills did something illegal. In 2010 police caught him with heroin and he pleaded guilty to that. A judge approved him for a state-run boot camp. But that’s not where Makowski ended up. MAKOWSKI: I thought I would be home in 120 days but — then after I get a note back from a counselor, view after I’d asked about when I’d be shipping to boot camp — she said that I was ineligible for boot camp due to an immigration detainer.
While America’s debate over immigration has been dominated recently by crackdowns in states like Arizona and Alabama, California legislators are trying to turn that tide with a bill to protect illegal immigrants that they dub the “anti-Arizona.” Last week, the top U.S. court upheld the most controversial aspect of Arizona’s immigration statute: a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop, even for minor offenses such as jay-walking. Enter California, a border state that is home to the largest number of illegal immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic, and is considerably more liberal than its neighbor Arizona. A bill currently working its way through the California legislature would block local law enforcement from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.