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Caroline Fan on October 31, 2008 - 6:07pm
While anti-immigration forces seek to paint immigrants as a dangerous criminal force, the facts show that immigrants commit fewer crimes than the general population proportionately. But more importantly, most law enforcement groups recognize that it becomes harder to protect victims of crime, particularly immigrants themselves, when millions of people living in our communities are fearful of talking to the police when they witness a crime or are a victim of one. A report endorsed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, representing the police departments of New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and city departments serving over fifty million residents outlined:
"Immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect and undermine the level of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities. If the undocumented immigrant's primary concern is that they will be deported or subjected to an immigration status investigation, then they will not come forward and provide needed assistance and cooperation...Such a divide between the local police and immigrant groups would result in increased crime against immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing future terroristic acts."
Progressive leaders can frame reasonable treatment of immigrant communities as critical to promoting public safety.
Core immigrant outreach for public safety and anti-terror policy legislation should include:
- Promote Community Policing in Immigrant Communities
- Protect Immigrant Victims and Witnesses to Crimes, Particularly of Domestic Violence
- Issue Licenses and Identification
- Condemn Private Vigilantism
- NCLR, State and Local Police Enforcement of Immigration Law, A Toolkit for Advocates
- National Immigration Forum, State and Local Police Enforcement of Immigration Laws
- Public Policy Institute of California, Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It?
- National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), Over-Raided, Under Siege: U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants (or executive summary)
- Border Action Network, Human and Civil Rights Violations Uncovered
- Immigration Policy Center, Enforcement Without Reform: How Current U.S. Immigration Policies Undermine National Security and the Economy (2008)
- Robert J. Sampson in Contexts, Vol. 7, No. 1, American Sociological Association, Rethinking Crime and Immigration (March 2008)
- Immigration Policy Center, Immigrants and Crime: Setting the Record Straight