A report released by the Obama Administration states that the federal government should cease utilizing local and state police while enforcing immigration law. The recommendation comes as part of a task force, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, set up by the president to help rebuild trust between police and the communities they work in.
As reported in the Washington Times, the report has angered proponents of immigration enforcement, who said it was the latest effort by President Obama and his aides to stop finding illegal aliens to deport.
“If you’re so worried about your legal status, or your illegal status, don’t put yourself in a place or a situation where you’re going to get picked up by the police,” said Rosemary Jenks, NumbersUSA’s Director of Government Relations.
She questioned the sense of ignoring illegal aliens driving without a license or using falsified documents.
“Somehow in this world if you’re an illegal alien, then you can’t be punished for being an illegal alien,” she said.
The report calls on law enforcement to “build relationships based on trust with ‘immigrant’ communities,” and that, “whenever possible, state and local law enforcement should not be involved in immigration enforcement.”
Law enforcement agencies should build relationships based on trust with immigrant communities. This is central to overall public safety. Immigrants often fear approaching police officers when they are victims of and witnesses to crimes and when local police are entangled with federal immigration enforcement. At all levels of government, it is important that laws, policies, and practices not hinder the ability of local law enforcement to build the strong relationships necessary to public safety and community well-being. It is the view of this task force that whenever possible, state and local law enforcement should not be involved in immigration enforcement.
The report goes on to recommend “decoupling federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and nonserious crime.” It urges DHS to “terminate the use of the state and local criminal justice system including detention, notification and transfer requests.”
Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and nonserious crime. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should terminate the use of the state and local criminal justice system, including through detention, notification, and transfer requests, to enforce civil immigration laws against civil and nonserious criminal offenders. In 2011, the Major Cities Chiefs Association recommended nine points to Congress and the President on this issue, noting that “immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries, not local or state entities and other countries. Any immigration enforcement laws or practices should be nationally based, consistent, and federally funded.
Finally, the report suggests that the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database “should not include civil immigration information.”
The U.S. Department of Justice should not include civil immigration information in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database is an electronic clearinghouse that lawenforcement officers can access in the field. It contains data submitted by agencies across the country aimed at helping officers identify people, property, and criminal histories. At one time, NCIC also included civil immigration detainers (nonmandatory temporary hold requests issued by a federal immigration officer), although the FBI has indicated that the practice of accepting this information was discontinued and that the information does not currently exist in the database. The U.S. Department of Justice should ensure that this remains the case.
The recommendations come after the the Department of Homeland Security has already begun to alter interior enforcement strategies. Earlier this year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) discontinued its Secure Communities program, which worked with local and state jails to deport illegal aliens who had been arrested.