IAQ — Immigration Alien Query

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From April 30, 2008

One of the procedures used by state and local law enforcement called “Immigration Alien Query” is outlined below.

August 4, 2007 three Newark, NJ college students were murdered and one seriously injured when they were shot execution style. Four suspects were arrested, one of which was in the country illegally and had been previously arrested and released on a rape charge. Had that person been identified as an illegal immigrant when he was originally arrested the murders may have been prevented. In an August 27, 2007 press release Governor Matt Blunt highlighted this case stating “We cannot be complacent about illegal immigration…We must be proactive to protect Missourians from harm and help prevent what happened in New Jersey from happening in Missouri.”

NLETS provides you access to a tool in verifying immigration status. This tool is called the [Immigration] Alien Query or IAQ. The IAQ is a NLETS direct transaction that sends information about a person suspected of being a foreign national AND under lawful investigation OR under arrest to the Law Enforcement Support Center or LESC. The LESC, operated by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, has a purpose to “provide timely information on aliens suspected of criminal activity and status information on aliens under arrest” (NLETS User & Technical Guide).

MULES users may access the IAQ by typing IAQ in the fast transaction line or from the MULES/3 directory taking Action 5-All Other, 3-NLET Directs and 15-[Immigration] Alien Inquiry. Required fields for an IAQ are ORI (of requesting agency), PURPOSE CODE (C or F), ATTENTION, REASON, PHONE NUMBER (of requesting agency), NAME OF SUBJECT, DOB, SEX, PLACE OF BIRTH (non-US), If subject is in CUSTODY (Y or N) and NCIC OFFENSE code the person is under arrest or investigation for. The LESC encourages the use of most appropriate NCIC offense code. The LESC also allows use of code 0399, Immigration, when conducting a query in furtherance of lawful investigative detention or general investigations. Fifteen optional fields follow allowing a more specific search. One of the optional fields, Alien Registration Number, is a key ICE file identifier and should be used if known. The final field, REMARKS, should include further description of the offense and any other information that might be of interest to ICE.

The IAQ is received at the LESC and manual searches of NCIC, III and eight ICE service databases are conducted. When the manual searches are complete the LESC sends the response to the printer of the terminal agency making the inquiry and to the local ICE office. Information received from LESC may advise that the subject has been previously deported, appears to be in the U.S. legally or illegally, is wanted by ICE for removal or appears to be deportable but not currently wanted.

The LESC reports that from October 1, 2006 to September 9, 2007 there were 4,505 IAQ transactions from Missouri agencies. During that same period over 600 LESC detainers were placed on subjects incarcerated in Missouri. Despite those numbers NLETS reports that nationally IAQ’s make up less than 1/10th of 1% of queries across NLETS. Operators are encouraged to become familiar with this transaction and make this critical information available to officers. Questions should be directed to your troop MULES trainer.

Source: Missour State Highway Patrol Newsletter, July – September 2007, No. 07-03.

Other views: IAQ at work in Virgina.