The question of how and whether local police should enforce federal immigration laws was a major topic this week at an unprecedented gathering of police chiefs from 27 major cities.
The conference took place in New York City – though no local police officials attended. It was convened by the Consortium for Police Leadership in Equality, an organization that promotes police transparency and accountability.
Police chiefs expressed concern about the extra burden Secure Communities – and Arizona copycat bills pending in dozens of states – puts on police departments that are already being asked to do more with smaller budgets.
Secure Communities requires local jails to share arrest data gathered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If agents find a match, they can request the immigrant be detained, possibly leading to their deportation.
The Consortium’s co-founder, Dr. Tracie Keesee, co-authored an editorial published in July titled, Policing Immigration: A Job We Do Not Want. It cited a Consortium report that found 1 in 3 Salt Lake City, Utah residents are unwilling to report drug-related crimes when law enforcement can detain someone based on their immigration status. The report was submitted to the House Judiciary Committee.
Deportation Nation’s Renée Feltz spoke to Dr. Keessee, who is also a 20 year veteran with the Denver Police Department, about the editorial and the concerns raised at the conference. Click the link below to listen to the interview.