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Promote Community Policing in Immigrant Communities

Community Policing as an Alternative to Local Enforcement of Immigration Law

When Denver voters rejected a proposal last week by 70% to force police to automatically impound cars of unlicensed drivers -- an anti-immigrant measure designed to punish undocumented immigrants who can't get drivers licenses -- they followed the trend of communities across the nation, often led by public safety officials themselves, who are refusing to divert scarce public resources for anti-immigrant purposes.

Local Law Enforcement Backs Away from Punitive 287g Programs

Local communities are increasingly rejecting punitive anti-immigrant law enforcement policies such as 287g from the previous administration. They are walking away from agreements to have local police serve as federal immigration authorities, rejecting both their budgetary costs and the way they damage relationships and trust between police and the communities they serve.

Overview

Progressives should emphasize that we do not improve public safety by making immigrants afraid to cooperate with the police or anti-terror authorities.  States should condemn turning every police officer or, even worse, every social worker into a potential immigration enforcement agent, because it undermines community policing and other known effective law enforcement approaches. 

Rhode Island's HB 5237 and New Hampshire's HB 404 would prohibit the use of state and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship who are in violation of federal immigration laws.       

Hysteria over immigrants encourages racial profiling by law enforcement, so proposals like Texas HB 2428 / SB 150 would prohibit law enforcement profiling based on a person's immigration or nationality status.

See also:

State Immigration Project: Policy Options for 2009

Download a copy of the reports in PDF format here.  View the HTML version of the report here.