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Forcing Our Blues Into Gray Areas: Local Police and Federal Immigration Enforcement

  • Organization: Appleseed
  • Date Created: Wednesday, February 15, 2006
  • Submitted: Wednesday, February 15, 2006
  • Attachment(s): LINK
Appleseed's report outlines the legal history behind local enforcement of federal immigration laws, and outlines why an increase in this activity is a bad public policy decision. Many police departments, local governments, and organizations around the country are opposing increased local police involvement in federal immigration laws.

  • Increasing local law enforcement's role in federal immigration issues diverts scarce resources from protecting citizens from crime and terrorism.
  • In addition, it undermines community trust of the local police. It discourages immigrant community members -- witnesses, victims of crimes, and others -- from bringing forward information about crimes or terrorism. The negative effects on public safety affect all members of a community.

In light of current proposals to increase local police involvement in immigration enforcement, the Appleseed report recommends the following actions for local communities:

  • Know the issue and know your community's current policy
  • Document the effects of policing policies and educate your community
  • Encourage the adoption of policies that set safe boundaries on law enforcement activity
  • Let your members of Congress know that you do not want any bills passed that increase local responsibility for enforcement of federal immigration laws
  • Know that MOUs with the DOJ, while probably legal, are not obligatory
  • Oppose the execution of an MOU with your community
  • If defeating the MOU is unlikely, then seek to limit its negative impact

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