Authority of State and Local Officers to Arrest Aliens Suspected of Civil Infractions of Federal Immigration Law
This memorandum addresses the legal authority of state and local law enforcement officials to arrest persons suspected of committing civil infractions of federal immigration law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly considering a reversal of its opinion on that question. On several occasions, most notably in an opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel in 1996, DOJ has said that state and local officers have no authority under federal law to make such arrests. Now, apparently, DOJ may take the position that state and local officers have inherent authority to make arrests for civil violations of federal immigration law.