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Warning: Talking Sanely about Immigration May Be Hazardous

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 10/26/2009 at 10:39am

SacramentoLast week Stephen Magagnini and Susan Ferriss of the Sacramento Bee first reported that Police Chief Rick Braziel had become the latest voice of a growing number of police chiefs across the nation calling for a serious immigration overhaul.

These police chiefs are sick and tired of what they’re seeing on the ground– an unworkable system made worse by politicians’ failure to tackle real immigration reform. Unsurprisingly, these cops favor an approach to reform that prioritizes pragmatism over rhetoric– one that makes their communities safer by dealing with the realities of a badly broken immigration system.

As the Sacramento Bee reports:

Braziel said Congress must take a two-pronged approach: tighter borders and a way to allow undocumented immigrants who are productive to stay in the U.S. legally. Now, many are afraid to assist in criminal investigations, Braziel said.

Such a two-pronged approach, sure to draw criticism and support from both sides of the aisle, is nothing new. Police chiefs standing up to fight for it, however, is very new.

Why are they risking the ire of many in their communities to speak out?

Marcos Breton, reporting for the Sacramento Bee this morning, makes a clear case:

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel is not an immigration rights advocate.

He supports maintaining strong borders. And he has no sympathy for undocumented felons.

“If you’re a serious criminal, we’re going to use every law – local, state and federal – to get you off the street,” Braziel said last week.

But based on nearly 30 years as a cop, Braziel believes that confusing immigration laws are hindering cops and helping criminals.

Too many undocumented immigrants who are victims or witnesses to crimes are avoiding police for fear they’ll be deported, Braziel and other cops say. This allows criminals to prey on innocent people.

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