Sexton in Washington to Discuss Immigration, Law Enforcement

Article excerpt

Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ted Sexton will be among a group of law enforcement leaders from around the country who will meet at the White House Wednesday to discuss immigration issues.

Speaking at a Las Vegas high school last week, President Barack Obama said that he will push for an overhaul of the immigration system "that's been broken for way too long."

His remarks came a day after a bipartisan group of senators laid out the framework for a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a conditional path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, reforms to the legal immigration system based upon the needs of the economy, the creation of an employment verification system and an improved process for admitting future workers.

Obama's proposal includes strengthening U.S. borders, cracking down on companies that hire undocumented workers, setting requirements such as learning English and passing background checks for immigrants and streamlining the immigration system.

Sexton will attend a meeting Wednesday morning where law enforcement agents from across the country will discuss the issues they face while policing at the local level.

Questions about the federal government's role versus the state and local role in immigration enforcement have come up in several states where recently-passed immigration laws have blurred the lines. The input from local law enforcement should highlight issues that the president's administration will consider while formulating new immigration policy, Sexton said.

"We need clear, definite answers to several questions," Sexton said. "We want to get out of the gray areas and clarify what is the federal policy and how will that impact what we do from a state and local perspective."

Sexton served as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's first Assistant Secretary for State and Local Law Enforcement during 2008 and 2009. …