Cops online dating
Many were dozing, and they startled awake when Macke, having asked the driver for his license and registration, swung open the van's rear door and demanded everyone's "papers" — passports, visas, work permits.
It was not the first time, and not the last, that Macke, 35, with nine years on the state police force, converted a routine traffic stop into an immigration arrest.
In 2017, he turned over at least 19 undocumented immigrants to federal deportation officers after interrogating them about their legal status and detaining them without warrants, reporters for Pro Publica, in collaboration with the Inquirer, found. Macke encountered some of them not in vehicles on the roads he patrols, but randomly — as they had a smoke before a night shift outside a shipping company warehouse or bought a soda inside his own state police barracks.
And among those he stopped on highways, most who ended up in deportation proceedings were not drivers but passengers, like Edwin Cambar.
Last year, five states — New York, California, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington — limited how police can question immigrants about their legal status or hold them for ICE without a warrant.
Separately, more than 400 counties restricted their engagement with ICE enforcement, according to a national survey.
In the process, they helped the agency's regional field office tally more "at-large" arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions than any of the 23 other field offices in the country.
The result is heightened uncertainty for immigrants about encounters with local and state authorities who might take it upon themselves to act unofficially as surrogates for the federal immigration agency.
This is especially true in the center of the state, where anti-immigrant feelings run high.
Gale Gallo, Lemoyne's mayor and a member of the regional commission that oversees the police, expressed support for his actions: "In my view, he'd be within his authority to make sure that anyone driving illegally would not continue to drive in our borough," she said.
But policing experts say the officer should have done no more than ticket the cook and impound his car.