SIDNEY — Thursday evening, Robert E. Najmulski, Northeast United States field representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), addressed the Shelby County Liberty Group about immigration.
“What I’m hoping to do is inspire some curiosity into this subject,” he said. “Immigration is going to change this nation in ways you would not believe.”
Najmulski posed the question: How did our immigration system get broken? He claims it’s been working fine, and recent administrations have started causing issues.
In 2013, 990,553 foreign nationals became lawful permanent residents, also known as green-card holders, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Najmulski thinks the people who come lawfully to this country are not the problem.
“As American citizens and lawfully present immigrants who came into this country the right way, it’s OK to be concerned about this … it’s about the rule of law,” he said. “This nation is a nation of law, not man. And without law we all know what is going to happen.”
The group Najmulski works with, FAIR, is a private nonprofit group out of Washington, D.C. One of the ways he works with FAIR to tackle illegal immigration is by training law enforcement on what to look out for. Najmulski used to be a deputy sheriff in California and has worked extensively with law enforcement throughout his career.
Something FAIR does is take county sheriffs down to the southern states to see the problems first hand at the Mexican border. “All the illegal immigrants in your county are coming from the border and they need to see it first hand. It’s a great training opportunity,” he said.
Najmulski has approached the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office a few times without a real commitment to focus on illegal immigration.
Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said they simply have bigger items on their plate. Sure, they run into instances of illegal residents, but the heroin crises is a much higher priority on their list. Lenhart did agree that illegal immigration is a story that needs to be told.
“Do you have illegal aliens in this city? Are they working here or living here in this county? Is anyone doing anything about it?” Najmulski asked the room Thursday night.
Sidney Police Chief Will Balling said they do everything assigned within their power and scope applicable to the situation of illegal immigrants.
“When local law enforcement officers have probable cause to come in contact with an illegal immigrant and that individual is within our court system, we contact the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is set up to handle this type of situation. They have received the power and authority to take corrective actions that we do not have,” Balling said.
He is talking about the immigration agency known as ICE, which Najmulski also addressed Thursday night. Najmulski claims that ICE isn’t working as it should. He talked about how he thinks the changes made and the people in charge in the current administration have weakened national security, especially when it comes to letting people illegally migrate to the United States.
Najmulski thinks that if ICE, the Border Patrol, and the local law enforcement agents can be made stronger and more aware of what’s happening, they can fix illegal immigration.
“Our sheriffs are critical on this issue and usually they don’t like when I talk about this because it pains them into a political corner,” he said. “The law is the law. You should enforce it … when you start paying attention and doing your job and not just letting people go because they don’t speak English, we have enforcement.”
“A nation without borders is not a nation,” he said. “It’s OK to have a secure border.”
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