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Memo: Police Opposition to State Immigration Laws

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Memo: Police Opposition to State Immigration Laws Powered By Docstoc
					Date: April 27, 2011
To: Interested Parties
From: Chief Arturo Venegas, Jr. (retired), Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative

              Police Opposition to State Immigration Laws

With the passage of Arizona’s anti-immigration law in 2010, local law enforcement officers
found themselves in the middle of a debate around federal immigration enforcement. The law,
which turns local police into immigration agents, has inspired “copycat” proposals in at least
twenty-four states this year. To date, only one—in Utah—has actually become law, although
others are moving through the legislature or await a governor’s signature.

In several states, police chiefs, state troopers, and sheriffs—the officials most affected by these
laws—have spoken out against involving them in the deportation of non-criminals. These
officers understand that the immigrant community will be less likely to report crimes and
information to the police if doing so could lead to their own deportation.

State and local law enforcement leaders also know that the solution to the broken immigration
system requires federal leadership and action; a solution cannot be found in the individual
states. Many of the leaders who have been active in stopping “Arizona copycat” bills in their
states have also been calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The following is a compilation of quotes from law enforcement leaders around the country
denouncing state laws and mandates that they enforce immigration law at the state and local
level. These statements demonstrate the extensive opposition by law enforcement leaders to
local immigration enforcement and the urgency for a federal solution to the immigration issue.

Opposition to “Arizona-Style” Bills in State Legislatures

While twenty-four states have considered Arizona-style legislation this year, few have gained
legislative traction. Law enforcement officials have been influential in defeating these bills in
several states, and have given a firm warning to others that are still considering them. In
Indiana, for example, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels asked the state House to remove the
police enforcement provisions from its bill after speaking to Indiana State Police about it. (The
Senate had already passed an Arizona-style bill.)
The only Arizona copycat bill that has been signed into law, in Utah, was part of a package that
included a bill to allow undocumented immigrants in the state to get work permits. An Arizona-
style bill has passed the legislature in Georgia, and the governor is expected to sign the bill.
Arizona-style bills have passed both houses of the Alabama legislature (though they still need to
be reconciled), and are close to passing in Indiana and Florida.

Below are statements of opposition from law enforcement leaders in states who have
considered and rejected, or are still considering, Arizona-style bills.

ALABAMA: An “Arizona copycat” bill that would require police to check the immigration status
of suspected undocumented immigrants has passed out of both houses of the state legislature,
although the two versions of the bill still need to be reconciled. Law enforcement officers in the
state have voiced concerns about its unintended consequences.

Sheriff Todd Entrekin, Etowah County, AL
“Who‘s going to pay or deport them? It will cost taxpayers more money than (them) being free
on the street.”
(“Immigration bill could be expensive ‘message,’” Gadsden Times, April 4, 2011)

Chief Robert W. Green, Northport, AL
“Northport Police Chief Robert W. Green said he suspects the Hispanic community of Northport
already reports far fewer crimes than actually occur, out of fear of being deported. 'I think ...
(that) would probably increase significantly with the passage of this bill,' Green said.”
(“Top local law officials uneasy over proposed immigration law,” Tuscaloosa News, April 7,
2011)

COLORADO: An Arizona copycat bill was introduced in both houses of the legislature, but found
little support. The bill’s sponsor in the House withdrew it before a single hearing had been held.
In the Senate, a committee voted the bill down after a hearing at which local police chief Robert
Ticer testified in opposition.

Chief Robert Ticer, Avon, CO, on behalf of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police
“Trust between law enforcement and community is vital to ensuring public safety,” Ticer said.
“We rely on all residents to keep our communities safe.”
(“Immigration bill killed,” Denver Daily News, February 17, 2011)

Chief Richard Myers, Colorado Springs, CO
“It’s wrong to racially profile. We try to profile human behavior. I will not accept that this is the
responsibility of local police departments.”
(“Gascon, other chiefs blast immigration bill,” East Valley Tribune, April 21, 2010)

MINNESOTA: An Arizona-style bill has been introduced in the legislature, and the issue has
drawn concern from law enforcement.
Former Chief John Harrington, St. Paul, MN, on proposed “Arizona copycat” state bill HF0358
“You don't go into a domestic and ask the woman who's been beat up, 'what's your
immigration status?' Because that has a completely chilling effect on the victims.”
(“Legislators tangle over bill that would require police to investigate immigration status,”
Minnesota Public Radio, February 17, 2011)

Chief Tim Dolan, Minneapolis, MN
“We know for a fact that those people won't *call+, and it will start from there.”
(“Police Chiefs Tell Holder: Arizona Law a Bad Move,” CBS News, May 26, 2010)

NEBRASKA: When the Nebraska House Judiciary Committee took up an Arizona copycat bill, law
enforcement officers spoke out in opposition; Lincoln’s police chief wrote a letter to the city’s
finance director expressing his concerns, and an Omaha deputy testified alongside him before
the committee. Ultimately, the committee decided to kill the Arizona copycat bill, and instead
commissioned a study to look at whether the “Utah model” would be a good model for
Nebraska.

Chief Thomas Casady, Lincoln, NE, on proposed “Arizona copycat” state bill LB 48
“I fail to see this as a good return on investment. For my own tax dollar, I would prefer that we
focus efforts on the deportation of aliens who have already been convicted of crimes. If the
Legislature sees otherwise, I am concerned on the effect this legislation will have on my
budget.”
(Letter to Don Herz, Finance Director of the City of Lincoln, February 10, 2011)

Deputy Chief Todd Schmaderer, Omaha, NE, on proposed “Arizona copycat” state bill LB 48
“Our mission is to reduce crime and reduce the fear of crime. We are afraid and have concerns
that LB 48 will hamper those efforts, as it is written.”
(“Clash of opinions on immigration,” Omaha World-Herald, March 1, 2011)

NEVADA: An Arizona copycat bill was proposed in Nevada, but did not make it out of
committee.

Sheriff Bill Haley, Washoe County (Reno), NV
“Any unfunded mandate, any direction by the federal government, that I use my precious
resources to affect a federal outcome would affect my ability to do what the taxpayers in my
county have asked me to do, and that is to keep them safe from criminals.”
(“3 police leaders oppose Arizona immigration law,” Arizona Republic, May 18, 2010)

SOUTH CAROLINA: An Arizona copycat bill has passed the Senate and is currently being
considered by the House. Law enforcement has spoken out vocally about the costs the bill will
impose, including the heads of the state troopers’ and sheriffs’ associations.

Executive Director David Latimer of the S.C. Troopers Association
“Obviously, we don't want our troopers tied up for hours and hours trying to adjudicate an
immigrant when we have crashes or other calls for our service.”
(“Immigration bill pondered; police prefer to pursue dangerous criminals,” The Sun-News,
February 28, 2011)

Executive Director Jeff Moore, S.C. Sheriffs’ Association, on proposed “Arizona copycat” bill SB
20
 “The biggest question I’ve got is: How are we supposed to verify somebody’s residency?
Having access to that information on the side of the road at 2 in the morning is going to be a
problem.”
(“Questions surround latest attempt at state immigration reform,” The State, January 2, 2011)

Director Reggie Lloyd, S.C. Law Enforcement Division, on proposed “Arizona copycat” bill SB 20
“Do you want us to chase the guy who cut his wife’s head off or is in MS-13 (a gang) or dealing
drugs, or do you want us to get the guy on top of the roof nailing shingles? We can’t do it all.”
(“Questions surround latest attempt at state immigration reform,” The State, January 2, 2011)

Sheriff Leon Lott, Richland County, SC, on proposed “Arizona copycat” bill SB 20
“We have to look beyond finding out if someone is legal. What are we going to do with them?
With budget cuts, is that a priority for law enforcement? Are we going to go after an illegal
running a stop sign, or are we going to go after major crime?”
(“Immigration bill pondered; police prefer to pursue dangerous criminals,” The Sun-News,
February 28, 2011)

TEXAS: Both a bill outlawing “sanctuary cities” (a component of S.B. 1070) and a straight-up
Arizona copycat bill have stalled in the state legislature, where law enforcement officials from
around the state have made it clear that enforcing immigration locally will harm public safety.

Deputy Sheriff Dale Bennett, Bexar County, TX
“There is an inherent propensity to shy away from law enforcement that makes solving cases
difficult in our current population. Adding the potential threat of arrest and deportation (to
those who report crimes) increases that risk of never solving cases that much greater.”
(“U-visa might take a U-turn,” San Antonio Express-News, April 17, 2011)

Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Harris County, TX
“Legislation that would encourage people to have second thoughts about calling 911 or Crime
Stoppers, I have a problem with that.”
(“Texas sheriffs watching immigration bills closely,” Associated Press, January 6, 2011)

Chief Charles McClelland, Houston, TX
“If you are a crime victim in this city or you witness a crime, I want you to report that to the
Houston Police Department, regardless of your immigration status. If you are suspected of
committing a crime, I am going to try to arrest you and charge you, regardless of your
immigration status.”
(“‘Sanctuary city’ bills catching heat,” Houston Chronicle, February 18, 2011)

Chief William McManus, San Antonio, TX
“Where do we get the resources to do this? Where do we get the time to do this? Our issue,
I’ve never once, and I doubt any of my colleagues have been to a community meeting where we
hear complaints about illegal immigration. What we hear is graffiti, drug dealing, chronic issues
that detract and deter from the quality of life in neighborhoods. That’s what we hear, not illegal
immigration.”
(“Texas Sheriffs Oppose Texas Anti-Illegal Immigration Law,” Texas Public Radio, February 18.
2011)

Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz, Bexar County, TX
“Who do you ask (about their status)? Do you ask everyone you come into contact with? Who
knows? They could be from Russia or Canada, and those people are usually not targeted.”
(“U-visa might take a U-turn,” San Antonio Express-News, April 17, 2011)

Chief Victor Rodriguez, McAllen, TX
“It’s my position that if we continue to go down this path, we’ll make our communities more
dangerous.”
(“Police Chiefs Frustrated over Local Immigration Enforcement,” Deportation Nation, March 17,
2011)

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Dallas County, TX
“We should have people in jail that we’re afraid of—not people that we’re angry at.”
(“Local-level law enforcers go to Austin to oppose immigration bills,” Dallas Morning News,
February 17, 2011)

Sheriff Richard Wiles, El Paso County, TX
“I’m not sure what the problem is. El Paso is a large immigrant community. El Paso‘s got a big
population, there’s about 750,000 residents in the county, a lot of immigrant population. It’s
the safest large city in the Unites States, so we’re doing something right, so Austin needs to
listen to us.”
(“Texas Sheriffs Oppose Texas Anti-Illegal Immigration Law,” Texas Public Radio, February 18.
2011)

Sheriff Richard Wiles, El Paso County, TX
“‘We need the whole community to trust and respect us and to call us and help us to prevent
crime, and we don’t want to tear that down,’ Wiles said in a recent interview while at a border
sheriffs’ meeting in San Antonio. He called HB 12 ‘just a political smokescreen because we
already have plenty of room under the existing laws to do what we have to do.’”
(“U-visa might take a U-turn,” San Antonio Express-News, April 17, 2011)

Chief Art Acevedo, Austin, TX
“Women subjected to rape and domestic abuse will once again be hesitant to come forward;
families robbed of their life savings will remain silently quivering in the confines of their homes;
and neighbors of known human and drug traffickers will remain quiet. Ultimately, we will all
suffer from Arizona's foolhardy and shortsighted approach to dealing with illegal immigration.
Arizona has essentially declared open season for criminals to target illegal immigrants and their
families.”
(“Measure is bound to distract officers from fighting serious crime, deter noncitizens from
assisting with enforcement,” Austin American-Statesman, May 1, 2010)

UTAH: Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a package of immigration laws, including a law that
would allow undocumented immigrants to get work permits starting in 2013 and an Arizona
copycat law that will go into effect in 2011. The Arizona copycat law has attracted opposition
from law enforcement.

Chief Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City, UT
“Community policing has gotten better to the extent that we expect our community to help us
solve crimes. If we are going to start treating a segment of our community different than
everyone else, people start to turn away from law enforcement.”
(“Effects of Arizona’s immigration bills compared to Utah’s,” The Universe, February 14, 2011)

“It's important, especially for people in the federal government, in Washington, D.C., to
understand the local concerns. This becomes a very local issue. How does an individual officer
interact with members of the community and keep a level of trust when they are forced to
engage in what is profiling or racial policing practices?”
(“SLC police chief rails against Arizona law,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 26, 2010)

WYOMING: An Arizona copycat bill was introduced in the Wyoming House, but it died
procedurally when no one in the Business Development Committee voted to take up the bill.

Chief Brian Kozak, Cheyenne, WY
“Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak said local law enforcement does not have the authority to
enforce federal immigration laws. That authority falls to U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement. ‘A lot of people think that the immigration laws . . . we can enforce those,’ said
Kozak.”
(“Immigration bill before Wyoming Legislature stirs controversy,” Billings Gazette, January 23,
2011)

Chief Tom Pagel, Casper, WY
“Pagel said his department, budgeted for 90 officers, would not have the resources to actively
enforce federal law. ‘Do I have enough people that I would send them out to find illegal aliens?
No.’”
(“Immigration bill before Wyoming Legislature stirs controversy,” Billings Gazette, January 23,
2011)
Sheriff Jim Whalen, Teton County, WY
“I think that this kind of a thing could affect us from an economic standpoint. I do believe that
would impact the jail, housing, feeding (inmates) ... a whole host of things would come to play.
It's an unfunded mandate, or it would turn into an unfunded mandate. I guess I am opposed to
local law enforcement being mandated as a remedy for the failings of the federal government."
(“Immigration bill before Wyoming Legislature stirs controversy,” Billings Gazette, January 23,
2011)

Opposition by Arizona Law Enforcement to Arizona’s SB 1070

Prior to its passage in 2010, numerous law enforcement leaders and officers in Arizona spoke
out against SB 1070, citing concerns for the impact on public safety when immigrants fear
contact with law enforcement. Unfortunately, Governor Jan Brewer signed the legislation
anyway.

In May 2010, a delegation of law enforcement executives met with Attorney General Eric
Holder and urged him to sue Arizona over the law. The suit filed by the federal government a
few weeks later has secured an injunction against the bill that was upheld in spring 2011 by the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Below is a compilation of quotes that express the extensive opposition of law enforcement to
the legislation.

Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police
“The provisions of the bill remain problematic and will negatively affect the ability of law
enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner.
While AACOP recognizes immigration as a significant issue in Arizona, we remain strong in our
belief that it is an issue most appropriately addressed at the federal level.”
(“AACOP Statement on Senate Bill 1070”, April 21, 2010)

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Pima County, AZ
“*I have+ no intention of complying. I think the law is one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve
seen in 50 years. *It’s+ racist, disgusting and unnecessary…*There will be racial profiling.+ If I tell
my people to go out and look for A, B, and C, they're going to do it. They'll find some flimsy
excuse like a tail light that's not working as a basis for a stop, which is a bunch of baloney. “
(“The Dupnik rebellion: Pima’s top cop says ‘no’ to SB 1070,” KGUN-TV, April 27, 2010)

Chief Roberto Villaseñor, Tucson, AZ
“We are in a tenuous position as law enforcement. No matter which way we go, there are
lawsuits in the wings. The ones who are going to get beaten up on this most are the law
enforcement agencies.”
(“Arizona law on immigration puts police in tight spot,” Washington Post, April 30, 2010)

Sheriff Bill Pribil, Coconino County, AZ
“At this point, I see it interesting on the one hand counties are being eviscerated by the state
Legislature when it comes to budget ... and yet they continue to find ways for us to spend our
precious resources on programs we can't support.”
(“Proposed new Arizona immigration bills draw concern,” Arizona Daily Sun, March 16, 2010)

Chief Frank Milstead, Mesa, AZ
“*The law will require+ people to prove their innocence *before being charged with a crime+.”
(“Mesa police unsure of new immigration bill’s impact,” Arizona Republic, April 14, 2010)

Sergeant Brian Soller, Mesa, AZ; President, Mesa Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police
“What’s going to happen is you’re going to fear the police…*immigrants are+ going to shy away
from us instead of coming forward with information.”
(“Unfunded mandate?”, KPNX-TV, April 18, 2010)

Sgt. Russ Charlton, Tucson, AZ
"We're way too busy [to question anyone suspected to be here illegally]. We don't have enough
officers on the street to look for other stuff like that. If they're not doing anything, they're just
being normal people. Why would I do that?"
(“Arizona law on immigration puts police in tight spot,” Washington Post, April 30, 2010)

Officer David Salgado, Phoenix, AZ
Officer Salgado is suing the state of Arizona to stop the law from being implemented.
“Before the signing of this bill, citizens would wave at me. Now they’re afraid to make eye
contact.”
(“Ariz. immigration law divides police across US,” Associated Press, May 17, 2010)

Officer Martin Escobar, Tucson, AZ
Officer Escobar is suing the state of Arizona to stop the law from being implemented.
“*The law will] seriously impede law enforcement investigations and facilitate the successful
commission of crimes. [There are] no race-neutral criteria or basis to suspect or identify who is
lawfully in the United States.”
(“Arizona officer files lawsuit against immigration law,” Catholic Online, April 30, 2010)

Assistant Chief Mike Denney, Mesa, AZ
“What does it do to our already limited resources? Officers are going to have to spend a lot of
time determining whether someone is or is not in the country illegally.”
(“Mesa police unsure of new immigration bill’s impact,” Arizona Republic, April 14, 2010)

Sergeant Brian Soller, Mesa, AZ; President, Mesa Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police
“If we’re getting hammered with calls, is a misdemeanor *trespassing by an illegal immigrant+
more important than a stabbing or shooting? No. The problem with this law is that it’s an
unfunded mandate and could eat up a lot of manpower and cost a lot of money.”
(“Police unions: Immigration bill taxes officers,” East Valley Tribune, April 18, 2010)
Law Enforcement Professionals Around the Country Oppose “Arizona-Style”
Approach to Immigration Enforcement

Since Arizona passed S.B. 1070, law enforcement professionals around the country have
warned that an “Arizona-style” approach to law enforcement is bad for all communities.

Chief Robert Davis, San Jose, CA, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association
“*Regarding the Arizona legislation, the Major Cities Chiefs Association stands by its policy that+
immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect and undermine the level
of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities.”
(“Arizona immigration law creates rift,” USA Today, April 25, 2010)

Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles, CA
“Laws like this are put forward as a public safety issue, but they are not a public safety solution.
These laws will actually increase crime, not decrease crime. Witnesses won't come forward.
And they break down the trust we've been building for decades. On many levels, these laws
don't work.”
(“Police Chiefs Tell Holder: Arizona Law a Bad Move,” CBS News, May 26, 2010)

Chief George Gascon, San Francisco, CA
“It would have a negative impact on community policing and public safety. Neighbors [in
Hispanic neighborhoods] would be more hesitant to report crimes if they think their neighbors
and family are here without authority.”
(“Dolan bucks immigration checks,” Raleigh News & Observer, April 22, 2010)

Chief J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County, MD
“Immigration law is as complicated, if not more, than tax law. I don't want one of my officers
stopping somebody for running a stop sign and then spending the next two hours trying to
determine if they're here illegally or not.”
(“Immigrant checks could hush witnesses, Montgomery police chief says,” Washington Post,
May 17, 2010)

Former Chief Arturo Venegas, Sacramento, CA; Project Director, Law Enforcement
Engagement Initiative
“*Arizona’s law] essentially legislates racial profiling, putting police in the middle of the train
tracks to face an onslaught of civil-rights violations lawsuits. No other law in the country allows
citizens to sue a government agency for not arresting enough people.”
(“Gascon says immigration bill ‘catastrophic,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2010)

Law Enforcement Executives Call for Federal Action on Comprehensive
Immigration Reform
In addition to denouncing Arizona copycat proposals at the state level, law enforcement
officials have been instrumental in calling on the federal government to assert its authority over
immigration policy by passing comprehensive immigration reform.


Police Executive Research Fourm, Washington, DC
“National comprehensive immigration reform legislation should not be delayed any longer.
New legislation should include provisions regarding guest workers, provision of permanent legal
status, and employer and family-based visa systems.”
(Summit Recommendation #4, “Police and Immigration: How Chiefs are Leading their
Communities Through the Challenges,” 3/1/11)

 Chief Art Acevedo, Austin, TX
“Comprehensive immigration reform will lead to enhanced safety and security for everyone.”
(“Law enforcement leaders highlight how broken immigration system hurts public safety,”
Westside Gazette, 7/9-15/09)

Chief Art Acevedo, Austin, TX
“Comprehensive immigration reform is not only the right thing to do from a humanistic
standpoint, but also a public-safety standpoint.”
(“Cops know why ‘sanctuary’ is good policy,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, 6/13/09)

Chief Jon Zumalt, North Charleston, SC
“(The key elements of reform) are controlling our borders so we have knowledge of anybody
who is coming into our country. The next step is making sure we can document and identify
everybody who is in our country. And the next step is those whom we identify who are
criminals, we’ve got to get them deported.”
(“Q&A with Jon Zumalt,” Post and Courier, 6/14/09)

Chief Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City, UT
“The federal government needs to pass comprehensive immigration reforms to truly fix the
problem and relieve the burden on state and local police.”
(“New immigration law sets dangerous precedent,” Op-Ed, Salt Lake Tribune, 7/2/09)

Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr, Herndon, VA; Chief Jon Zumalt, North Charleston, SC; Chief
Gregory Allen, El Paso, TX; and Sheriff Richard Wiles, El Paso County, TX
“Our Federal government must enact a comprehensive immigration law that secures the
borders and legalizes undocumented workers who are not criminals.”
(Letter to Senator Schumer and Senator Cornyn, 4/30/09)

Sheriff Ken Irwin, Yakima County, WA
“Ultimately, we believe strongly that enacting comprehensive federal immigration reform will
allow state and local police to focus on job number one: protecting all members of our
communities from crime. We urge Congress and President Obama to pass federal immigration
reform as soon as possible as we serve our country and our communities on the front line every
day.”
(Letter from the Washington State Sheriffs’ Association to Senator Patty Murray and Senator
Maria Cantwell, 6/22/09)

Former Chief Hubert Williams, Newark, NJ, and President, Police Foundation
 “The federal government must enact comprehensive border security and immigration reforms,
because the federal government’s failure on both issues has had serious consequences in cities
and towns throughout the country.”
(“Hearing on Public Safety and Civil Rights Implications of State and Local Enforcement of
Federal Immigration Laws,” U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary,
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Subcommittee on
Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, 4/2/09)

Former Chief Arturo Venegas, Sacramento, CA
 “We need to figure out, we need to create a legal status for ten to twelve million folks in this
country. It is not practical, and anyone who thinks we’re gonna get into the mass deportation of
ten to twelve million people, they’re unrealistic.”
(“Nagin to undocumented workers: You’re welcome in New Orleans,” WWL TV News, 9/9/09)

Sheriff Bill McCarthy, Polk County, IA
“We want the country to come to a standard…We want to be humane but we want to follow
the rule of law. It's not just 'a catch them and kick them across the border situation.' Nobody
has the resources for that…We just want the issue discussed by our leaders in Washington.”
(“Polk County's sheriff is among those in a law enforcement group lobbying lawmakers,” Des
Moines Register, 10/23/09)

Chief Art Acevedo, Austin, TX
“When you remove the emotion from the debate…no one can argue that it is in the best
interest of public safety to keep these people living in the shadows.”
(“Big-City Police Chiefs Urge Overhaul of Immigration Policy,” New York Times, 7/1/09)

Chief Jose Lopez, Sr., Durham, NC
“We need to ensure that...a national policy on immigration would, essentially, allow us to
maintain the community policing that we’ve worked so hard to attain…To ensure that they
keep in mind the fact that individuals here in the United States who are undocumented also
need to be protected in the sense of being able to report violence, report crimes and at the
same time be able to come up as witnesses when incidents occur with them.”
(“Durham Police Chief Joins Group That Speaks To Congress,” My NC News, 5/21/09)

The Police Foundation
“Local law enforcement leaders and policing organizations should place pressure on the federal
government to comprehensively improve border security and reform the immigration system,
because the federal government’s failure on both issues has had serious consequences in cities
and towns throughout the country.”
(Executive Summary, “The Role of Local Police: Striking a Balance between Immigration
Enforcement and Civil Liberties,” 4/09)

The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
“NOBLE seeks to be part of the national policy discussion and design of the comprehensive
reformation of our national immigration laws.”
(“Resolution of NOBLE Supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” 7/27/09)

The National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA)
“Comprehensive reform of our immigration laws will bring millions of people out of the
shadows of fear and into the participation of democracy and citizenship…Comprehensive
immigration reform will focus on strengthening the borders of our nation (and) put common
sense rationale back into our immigration system.”
(“Resolution by the National Latino Peace Officers Association,” 5/30/09)

				
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Description: With the passage of Arizona’s anti-immigration law in 2010, local law enforcement officers found themselves in the middle of a debate around federal immigration enforcement. The law, which turns local police into immigration agents, has inspired “copycat” proposals in at least twenty-four states this year. To date, only one—in Utah—has actually become law, although others are moving through the legislature or await a governor’s signature. In several states, police chiefs, state troopers, and sheriffs—the officials most affected by these laws—have spoken out against involving them in the deportation of non-criminals. These officers understand that the immigrant community will be less likely to report crimes and information to the police if doing so could lead to their own deportation. State and local law enforcement leaders also know that the solution to the broken immigration system requires federal leadership and action; a solution cannot be found in the individual states. Many of the leaders who have been active in stopping “Arizona copycat” bills in their states have also been calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The following is a compilation of quotes from law enforcement leaders around the country denouncing state laws and mandates that they enforce immigration law at the state and local level. These statements demonstrate the extensive opposition by law enforcement leaders to local immigration enforcement and the urgency for a federal solution to the immigration issue.