Traffic stops become immigration stops in Delaware Valley
Benjamin can’t get a driver’s license because he arrived in the country illegally eleven years ago. A state trooper marked an “X” on his windshield and directed him to a parking lot where Norristown police were writing tickets.
The article states that checkpoints being setup to catch unlicensed and suspended drivers are also proving to be a jackpot for ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) who work closely with the local police who point out the potential illegal non-residents.
In recent years PennDOT has been fighting fraud and revoking previously issued driver’s licenses where a possible immigration violation was noticed. Illegal immigrants would use government issued Tax ID numbers or forged social security numbers to obtain a valid driver’s license from PennDOT. That worked for a number of years, but recently PennDOT improved their computer system and records were flagged as not matching valid Social Security numbers. So now as thousands of people have their driving privilege removed by PennDOT local authorities are making note and running random checkpoints to see who is driving legally.
According to citation records obtained by a public records request, 60 percent of the nearly 100 drivers ticketed by the Norristown Police Department during two checkpoints conducted jointly with ICE last summer had Hispanic surnames. These figures are particularly striking given that Hispanic residents make up only 30 percent of Norristown’s population, according to the 2010 Census.