Sunday, April 21, 2024

Report of a Crime Leads to Deportation

In December of last year, Abel Moreno and his girlfriend were pulled over by local law enforcement officer Marcus Jackson for a traffic violation.  When Jackson began to fondle Moreno’s girlfriend, Moreno called 911.

Jackson then ordered Moreno to drop the phone, arrested the pair and charged them with resisting arrest.

Now fired from the police force, Jackson is facing 11 counts of sexual battery, extortion and interfering with emergency communication after five other women came forward with similar accusations.  The local police chief admits Jackson should never have been hired in the first place since he has previous charges and a restraining order from an ex-girlfriend. Nor can the chief explain why Moreno’s call to 911 wasn’t acted upon.

Officials dropped the resisting arrest charges against Moreno and his girlfriend and call his testimony crucial to the case.  However, Moreno has been in this country working illegally for six years, and now because he came to the attention of law enforcement for calling 911, he faces deportation back to Mexico.

This is because the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is one of 67 local law enforcement agencies across the country that participates in the federal program known as “287(g)”.  Named for the section of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act that it references, this provision allows local law enforcement to enter into an agreement with the federal government to be able to enforce federal immigration laws during the course of their normal duties.

Provision 287 (g) which has been in effect for more than 10 years, was intended to allow local police to identify criminal undocumented immigrants.  Since its inception, it has been controversial with immigrant rights groups and the ACLU denouncing it. Even some law enforcement agencies worry that cases like Moreno will further add to the distrust between them and immigrant communities.

Moreno, who is now unemployed and out of money, was given a six month stay by a judge so he can serve as a witness.  His attorney hopes that following this extension he might qualify for a U Visa which is granted to witnesses of criminal investigations and allows them to remain in the US for up to four years.  Only 10,000 of these types of visas are issued in annually and there are no guarantees for Moreno.

Montgomery County, Md., Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, who was representing the Major Cities Chiefs Association, testified last year before Congress on the issue, saying “The reality is that undocumented immigrants are a significant part of the local populations that major police agencies must protect, serve and police.”

Warning against the fear of deportation that may keep some immigrants from reporting crimes, Manger added, “The hard-won trust, communication and cooperation from the immigrant community would disappear.”

Moreno’s attorney does not support a repeal of 287(g).  He believes that there is some value to the program, but he feels the law can be and has been abused “when it’s used to pick up people for minor things,” such as in the case of his client.

The fears of racial profiling and abuse by local law enforcement have been major arguments against the state of Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigration law.



  1. Whoa, this is horrible. This poor guy is caught up in a bad situation for doing the right thing! I was just talking to a co-worker about this and she said “sometimes I wish they would have a common sense claus”, I agree. This should be treated as a speacial case. I really hope justice prevails… and he gets his visa!