Illegal aliens are illegal

In last week's police reports in the Mail Tribune, two individuals who were arrested were identified as illegal immigrants, one for a sex crime and one for driving while intoxicated. Are these individuals reported to the federal authorities?

— Ralph W., Eagle Point

Being an illegal alien is a federal crime. Local law enforcement isn't allowed to arrest someone for being an illegal alien. But when police arrest someone on another charge and they find out or suspect the person is in the country illegally, they notify federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Medford police Sgt. C. Teresi.

Federal authorities decide whether to charge the person with being an illegal alien and put a hold on him in jail. That's why the suspects you mentioned who were arrested late Saturday and early Sunday weren't given the option of bail.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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