California judge under fire for INS interviews
August 30, 1996
From Correspondent Anne McDermott
SANTA ANA, California (CNN) -- As the supervising judge for Orange County's Superior Court, David Carter sees a lot of drug abusers.
"How bad's your narcotics habit?" he asks an inmate before him. "Fifty dollars a day? A hundred dollars a day?"
Increasingly, Carter is seeing more immigrants in front of his bench -- sometimes they constitute as much as 30 percent of all the inmates he sees.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service interviews some convicted illegal immigrants in jail, but Carter thought that was inefficient.
So earlier this month, the judge began inviting INS officials into the holding cell behind his office so that the interview could be done before the inmates make their court appearances.
That way, Carter says, the deportation process is streamlined for any inmates in the country illegally. As soon as the inmates serve their time, they're deported.
Carter makes sure all inmates are interviewed, regardless of their ethnicity.
He says he does it not out of hate, but a dislike for the crimes the inmates commit.
"I don't like bad guys, no matter where they're from," Carter says.
But some take issue with Carter's approach.
"It's targeting a group of people who may not have access to counsel as they should," said Rebecca Jurado of the Hispanic Bar Association.
The INS, however, maintains they have to right "to question anybody in the U.S. as to their legal right to remain in the U.S."
Others say Carter is overstepping himself by inviting the INS in. They say regulating illegal immigration is not his job.
Carter, however, says his job is fighting crime. And since many criminals are repeat offenders, Carter says, if they don't belong here, "send 'em back home."
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.