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Opinion Get state, local law enforcement out of the immigration business

01:06  04 may  2021
01:06  04 may  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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  The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Instead of reaching out to ethnic and racial minorities, the “build that wall” wing of the GOP opted to restrict their ability to vote. Republican Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.), who did not get with the program, were purged.Republicans are virtually certain to filibuster President Biden's plan, which offers an 8-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (requiring them to pass background checks and pay taxes), eliminates restrictions on family-based immigration, and expands worker visas. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.

Creating a just and humane immigration system is one of the most urgent and challenging issues facing the Biden-Harris administration. And contemporary political rhetoric about immigration often trots out the unfounded, xenophobic and fearmongering argument that cracking down on immigration and immigrants is necessary for public safety. That couldn't be more wrong.

a young boy in a dark room: Immigrants stand near the bank of the Rio Grande after crossing the river from Mexico on April 27, 2021 in Roma, Texas. © John Moore/Getty Images Immigrants stand near the bank of the Rio Grande after crossing the river from Mexico on April 27, 2021 in Roma, Texas.

As law enforcement leaders, we've seen firsthand how anti-immigrant policies make everyone less safe. We also understand the profound power of the president to influence immigration policy — in ways that can either promote or threaten public safety.

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  Biden at 100 days: How immigration policy has — and hasn't — changed President Biden halted border wall construction, but has yet to fulfill other campaign pledges.During his first 100 days as president, Mr. Biden halted border wall construction and ended some Trump-era policies, including broad restrictions on green cards. However, Mr. Biden has kept several of his predecessor's immigration changes, including a historic-low cap on refugees and limits on asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

While comprehensive immigration reform and achieving a just and humane immigration system will require more than executive orders, President Joe Biden can get us closer to these objectives by taking action where he can. The White House recently rescinded rules from the Trump administration that allowed federal immigration officers to use courthouses to target individuals for possible immigration violations.

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This is an important step to building community trust, but the president must go further and end, once and for all, programs that entangle local police agencies in federal immigration activities.

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The solemn duty of prosecutors and law enforcement leaders is to seek justice, uphold the rule of law and protect the communities they serve. Promoting public safety through justice depends on earning and maintaining the trust of all members of the community — regardless of their immigration status.

More than 100 law enforcement leaders across the nation are urging the Biden administration to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) programs like 287(g) agreements and ICE detainers that enlist local law enforcement agencies to engage in interior immigration control efforts. These programs threaten our most vulnerable communities, and in so doing, threaten us all.

The 287(g) program taps local law enforcement officers to perform the duties of federal immigration officials, including ascertaining immigration status, taking immigrants into custody, detaining them and transferring them to ICE. An ICE detainer seeks to engage local law enforcement agencies in locking people behind bars, absent any court order and often after they are legally entitled to be released. These programs are deeply corrosive to public safety as they erode bonds of trust. Biden can end them now.

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We’ve seen how these agreements make victims reluctant to report crimes or assist investigators for fear of being detained and deported. Witnesses are silenced, domestic violence and sexual assaults go unreported, and crimes remain unsolved. When any encounter with a police officer has the potential to ruin lives and tear families apart, members of immigrant communities avoid law enforcement at all costs — even when their personal safety, and the safety of their family and the public, is at stake.

Research consistently confirms these concerns. A recent study showed that after a jurisdiction implements a sanctuary policy, Latinos are more likely to go to police when violent crimes occur. And a survey conducted by a University of California professor found that if undocumented immigrants were told that ICE was working with local police, they were less likely to go to law enforcement when they witnessed a crime (a difference of 61% said they would avoid reporting) and when they were victims (a difference of 43%). Claims that these programs are necessary for public safety are often based on harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about immigrant communities. Evidence shows that immigrants are in fact less likely to commit violent crimes than native-born citizens.

True immigration reform requires compromise from both sides of the aisle

  True immigration reform requires compromise from both sides of the aisle Rather than continuing to operate under a patchwork network of executive orders, it is time for Congress to do its job. Members were elected to do that which is hard, yet necessary for the American people. If members of this Congress cannot get the job done or are unwilling to do the work, then voters need to consider replacing them with members who will. Alberto R. Gonzales is the former U.S. attorney general and counsel to the president in the George W. Bush administration. Presently he is the dean at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee.

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These agreements are also costly, diverting scarce resources — including staff time and taxpayer dollars — that could be dedicated to addressing serious crimes. Prince William County, Virginia, and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, both recently abandoned their 287(g) programs, citing significant costs.

Local law enforcement is also vulnerable to costly damages in lawsuits for constitutional violations arising from these programs. Los Angeles County recently settled an unlawful detention class action lawsuit for $14 million.

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In growing numbers, local law enforcement officials are speaking out against these misguided programs.

Federal immigration agents must do their jobs, just as local prosecutors and law enforcement must do theirs. However, mixing the two is not only a recipe for disaster for immigrant communities, but also for everyone with a stake in public safety.

Biden agreed with this assessment when he pledged to "end the Trump administration’s historic use of 287(g) agreements” because they “undermine trust and cooperation between local law enforcement and the communities they are charged to protect.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of Biden's harshest critics on the migrant surge, is urging White House to listen to border towns

  Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of Biden's harshest critics on the migrant surge, is urging White House to listen to border towns Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar has become an outspoken, critical voice on immigration as Biden grapples with migrants coming to the border.The 65-year-old congressman, donning a tan button-down shirt and matching pants, lamented about the issues he’s seen in his community as an increased number of migrant children, families and adults make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. American teenagers are being recruited by cartels to help smuggle people into the United States, ranch property is being destroyed, and now migrants are replacing drugs as the newest and most valuable commodity to smuggle into the country, he said.

Pledges are not enough, however. Now he must follow through and bring us one step closer to a new vision for our nation’s immigration system — one that prioritizes safety, humanity and protecting the American dream.

Eli Savit is the prosecuting attorney for Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), Michigan. RaShall M. Brackney is the chief of police for Charlottesville, Virginia. Miriam Aroni Krinsky is the executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution and a former federal prosecutor.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Get state, local law enforcement out of the immigration business

Analysis of police misconduct record laws in all 50 states .
CARBONDALE, Illinois (AP) — Below is an analysis of public record laws in all 50 states. It is based on an analysis of statutes and court opinions as well as interviews with experts. To stay up to date with the rapidly changing laws, visit Legislative Responses for Policing-State Bill Tracking Databas e. ___ This reporting is funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. ___ ALABAMA-RESTRICTED Police disciplinary records are available to the public, but agencies can require that requesters state the reason for their request.

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