Cracking Down On Illegal Aliens
HAMILTON, OH - Less than 24 hours after President Bush announced a national initiative to reduce the numbers of illegal aliens living in the U.S., Butler County officials launched their own initiative Friday to rid the county of undocumented, foreign-born residents.

In a joint press conference, Sheriff Richard K. Jones, county Commissioner Michael Fox and state Rep. Courtney Combs, R-Hamilton, announced a multi-tiered program they said is the first of its kind in the country.

For starters, beginning on Monday Jones will require a declaration of citizenship from all booked into the county jail.

Meanwhile, Combs is drafting new state legislation that will make it a state offense for illegal aliens to cross Ohio's borders.

And Fox is working on initiatives to discourage employers from hiring illegal aliens.

The three officials said they began working on the issue six months ago.

According to national figures released Thursday, an estimated 11 million illegal aliens are living in the United States and another three million are expected to enter the country by year's end.

Jones said that during the past two years, more than 600 inmates had been booked into the county jail without Social Security identification numbers - making them undocumented persons.

Housing such individuals in the past two years has cost $1 million, he said.

"It's more likely than not that an adult living in the United States without a Social Security number is an illegal alien," he said.

Those in jail for misdemeanor offenses who falsify their information, or are found to be illegal aliens, will be reported to the Federal Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services for possible immediate deportation.

Those who are jailed for felonies will first stand trial for their crimes and then face deportation.

In addition, to force INS officials to take the local measures seriously, the sheriff said he intends to bill the federal government $70 a day for every illegal alien housed at the county jail.

"They may not pay it," Jones said. "In which case, we will load the illegal aliens on a bus and drop them at INS' doorstep."

Other options being considered include giving misdemeanor offenders the option of serving out their sentence while INS processes their deportation papers, or allowing them to forego their sentence if they voluntarily leave the county on a one-way plane ticket the county buys.

Officials said the cost of an airline ticket is cheaper than housing a prisoner for a week or more.

Combs is crafting legislation that would create a new criminal code enabling local law enforcement officials to detain illegal aliens pending INS action. The bill would create a new offense of "state trespass" - similar to laws already in place in border states such as Texas and New Mexico.

"We're not saying we don't want immigrants to come here and try to make a life for themselves in America," Combs said. "... All we're saying is to do it right. Do it legally."

Fox blamed "greedy businessmen," left-wing liberals and bi-partisan "stupid political correctness," for the influx of illegals.

"This isn't an attack on any particular ethnic group," he said. "This is about national security and the federal government's failure to act."

He blamed employers and powerful chambers of commerce for contributing to the problem by lobbying against sanctions that could damage their ability to hire cheap migrant labor.
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