Use of customs agents for traffic stop interpretation raises concerns

Posted on: October 21st, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Police should handle their own language interpretation services rather than calling in border officers for assistance, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

A recent story by Michigan-based M Live Media reported that local state police were using customs agents to assist with translation issues during traffic stops in the area around Detroit.

“I can see why it would raise concern, especially in the current climate in the U.S. regarding illegal immigration,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish. “There needs to be a division between the two functions because a traffic stop has absolutely nothing to do with customs and border protection.”

Deliscar says non-English speakers may feel intimidated by the involvement of border agents and the prospect that a traffic stop could turn into an investigation of a person’s immigration status.

“Although state police are not supposed to be involved in immigration enforcement activities, mixing the two forces in this way could give the impression that they are working together,” she says. “It makes more sense to use another department or a neutral party.”

Leave a Reply