After questioning them, the San Antonio Police Department chief, Bill McManus, decided to release twelve immigrants to local Catholic charities. The immigrants got caught trying to cross the border in a tractor-trailer – the second such case witnessed in San Antonio in the last six months.
The chief’s decision to bring state charges into the case, rather than involve federal authorities, infuriated the local police association. They now seek to have Chief Bill McManus investigated and fired from the police force.
The police association claims McManus deviated from the conventional procedures and wasn’t even supposed to be at the scene. Denise Gilman, a law professor at the University of Texas and the co-director of the law school’s Immigration Clinic, thinks otherwise.
She states that, despite the case’s peculiarity, it doesn’t appear he did anything wrong by releasing the immigrants, saying, “He did nothing unlawful under federal law or state law.”
McManus took the tractor-trailer’s alleged driver, a 58-year-old woman, into custody to face possible charges, and questioned the 12 immigrants before deciding to release them.
He declined CNN’s requests for an interview but says the city could have faced legal liability if they held the truck’s occupants. City Manager Sheryl Sculley, his superior, recently issued a statement supporting McManus’ decision.
The statement says he neither broke nor circumvented any rule, directive, regulation or law. “The Chief acted within his jurisdiction and, as acknowledged by federal law enforcement, had no real authority to hold 12 individuals after they were questioned,” read the statement.
McManus’ police department recently released a statement that says:
“To clarify, Homeland Security was never told that their services were not needed. SAPD handled this investigation utilizing the state smuggling statute. Unfortunately, this is the second incident in the last year. Fortunately, this time citizen interaction and a quick police response prevented another tragedy.”
The last smuggling case before this one happened in July. Police arrived to find dozens of immigrants in a trailer parked at a Walmart. Authorities found eight casualties, and two more passed away later that fay. The trailer’s driver, James Bradley Jr., 61, pled guilty and faces life in prison.
This article was inspired by CNN // San Antonio Top Cop Under Fire After Releasing Immigrants To Charity