Ten police chiefs from cities across the country, including three from Arizona, traveled to Washington, DC today to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder and reiterate what they’ve been saying for weeks: Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law will make their jobs harder, erode working relationships built on mutual trust and cooperation between law enforcement and immigrants, and make communities less safe. The federal government should step in to prevent more states from following suit.
From local Arizona cops to top police chiefs, with expertise in community policing, law enforcement is taking a firm stand against Arizona’s controversial new immigration law, SB 1070. Over the weekend, Chief Art Acevedo of Austin, TX wrote an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman warning that Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislators who signed the law “declared open season for criminals to target immigrants” and “killed community policing in the state.” Chief Acevedo says Arizona’s own history with crime shows why the new law is dangerous.
Arizona has taken center stage in the debate about how to fix our badly broken immigration system. What people may not realize is that police associations and top cops around the country and across the state oppose the new law SB1070. In fact, the first lawsuit against SB1070 was filed last week by a 15-year veteran of the Tucson police force.
Phoenix Mayor, Phil Gordon, and Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, are condemning Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s move on Friday to sign the controversial SB 1070 into law. Gordon’s primary focus is on the adverse implications this bill will have on community safety. By diverting police attention from capturing dangerous criminals to rounding up immigrants (and Latinos who leave their wallets at home), this bill has the alarming ability to alienate a population that would otherwise be helpful in reporting and reducing real crime.
Chief Lisa Womack of Elgin, IL; Sheriff Richard Wiles of El Paso, TX; and Chief Sam Granato of Yakima, WA, participated in a telephonic press conference yesterday sponsored by the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative (LEEI). They called on President Obama and Congress to (in Chief Granato’s words) “step up to the plate” on reform. Meanwhile, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran told the Chicago Tribune that he supports comprehensive immigration reform, calling it “morally the right thing to do.”
As the immigration debate heats up this year, America’s Voice today releases a special report, “Immigration Reform: Know the Players,” providing an indispensable reference for anyone following the issue of immigration reform.
The series, which was originally published in Spanish on MaribelHastings.com in eight thematic installments, provides background information, statistics, and other detailed information on the roles played in the urgent battle for reform by the following groups of supporters: law enforcement; undocumented students; anti-immigrant groups; the pro-immigrant movement; faith communities; farmers and agricultural laborers; business and labor interests; and, of course, the main actors: the White House, Senate and House of Representatives.
The time has come for the U.S. government to focus on other aspects of immigration besides enforcement, a panel of national security and law- enforcement experts said Tuesday.
When people talk in the abstract about undocumented immigrants – or, as some call them disdainfully, “illegals” – they don’t think about the fact that these “invisible people” are in fact present every minute of every day. The food we bring to our mouths has been picked or processed by their hands. They serve or cook our meals in restaurants, take care of our children, clean the offices where we work, or own businesses we patronize. They are our neighbors, friends, relatives…the list goes on.
On March 12, Juan Garcia, a 53-year-old homeless man, was brutally murdered in an alley off 9th and Alvarado streets in the Westlake District, just west of downtown Los Angeles. At first, the police were stumped; there were no known witnesses and few clues. Then a 43-year-old undocumented immigrant who witnessed the crime came forward and told the homicide detectives from the Rampart station what he saw.
Over the last three years, police in Dallas have ticketed 39 drivers for not speaking English, even though there is no law requiring drivers be able to do so.
Amid growing public anger, Police Chief David Kunkle announced last week that the citations would be thrown out and that the officers who issued them would be investigated.