Immigrant arrest raises enforcement questions

DEKALB COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A native born Mexican is under arrest in the city of Fort Payne on felony charges.

45-year-old Adrian Gomez of Albertville is now facing two charges of possession of a forged instrument.

Gomez was apprehended Monday, not on a traffic stop, but after authorities were alerted of a possible fake state identification and social security card.

Officials at the Northeast Alabama Water District say Gomez came into their office seeking new water service mid morning on Monday.

General Manager Johnny Jordan said they require two forms of identification to receive service for a new account.

He said the man gave them a Tennessee identification card and social security card, but they looked off.

"There was something out of shape about them, distorted, which raised concern.  At that point we have an agreement with the Fort Payne Police Department to make contact with them and they can begin their investigation," said Jordan.

Court officials say Gomez also has two warrants relating to two other charges of not having a driver's license.

Whether Gomez will be charged under the new immigration law leaves many wondering when officers should begin enforcing it.

WAFF 48 News spoke with a spokesman with Alabama's homeland security.

He said they are telling law enforcement they are expected to begin enforcing the new law.

He also said enforcement is at the local level.

Representative Kerry Rich, co-sponsor of Alabama's new immigration law, said if Gomez can be charged under the new, law then he should be.

But the Marshall County representative also said he understands there is a learning curve on the new law.

"Well, in my view, it should be enforced as soon as possible.  Now, I understand that law enforcement, they're going to have to have a little time to get up to speed," said Rich.

Concerning immigration charges against Gomez, that will be up to the Fort Payne Police Department.

Chief Randy Bynum tells WAFF 48 News Thursday they do not anticipate, at this time, charging Gomez under Alabama's new immigration law. He said he will face two felony charges and will have an ice detainer on him.

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