Chief Deane, having expressed concern, from the outset of the first proposed immigrant resolution, did not want to negate the relationship his department had built with the immigrant community due to an ill thought out resolution with would result in “unintended consequences”. He shared great concern that turning his police officers into immigration enforcement would jeopardize the hard won trust his department had worked so hard to gain. It is not only Chief Deane that sees the risk in alienating the immigrant community, but apparently, the overwhelming majority of law local law enforcement feels the same way. Is this some lefty bleeding heart liberal conspiracy? Or is just simply common sense. Read more in this Washington Post article that demonstrates a national reluctance to morph local police into immigration enforcement.
I also found it interesting that the crime trend in PWC, crime decreasing over the past four years while our immigrant populaton rose, represented a national trend.
Although law enforcement agencies in Prince William and Frederick counties have agreed to help federal authorities enforce immigration laws, officials in many other parts of the country remain reluctant to do so, saying they fear losing the trust of immigrant communities and worry about being accused of racial profiling.
Despite a nationwide clamor against illegal immigration, only 55 of more than 18,000 police and law enforcement agencies across the country have signed agreements to coordinate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
El Paso’s mayor, John Cook, described his mostly Hispanic city on the Mexican border as “the second-safest city in America,” in part because it stresses community police involvement. While recognizing that illegal immigration is a crime, he said he is also worried about a growing public perception that immigrants are criminals.
“There is a danger,” he said. “Once people don’t trust a police officer in immigrant communities, they become communities that foster crime, where people won’t report domestic violence or the theft of a TV. If people feel they are under threat of being deported, they become silent. There has to be a delicate balance.”
Several scholars at the meeting expressed concerns about public perceptions that illegal immigrants are linked with high crime. Rubén Rumbaut of the University of California at Irvine said crime rates across the country have steadily declined as immigration rates have increased. His research showed that the percentage of foreign-born men in U.S. jails and prisons is far lower than that of African Americans and in some cases close to the level of native-born whites.
Other legal experts and advocates at the meeting said that immigration law is increasingly being “criminalized” to prosecute people who have crossed the border to find work, especially by charging them with identity fraud, and that civil immigration warrants are being used like criminal warrants, even though they do not carry the same powers, such as the right to enter a home without permission.