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No evidence of a "chilling effect" from local police cooperation with ICE exists in federal or local government data or independent academic research

Posted on 20-Sep-2013
Topics: Illegal Immigration and Crime  

From CIS:

America's sheriffs believe that assisting ICE is not a fiscal burden, even if they have to hold aliens in custody briefly for ICE to remove. On the contrary, cooperation produces significant local criminal justice cost savings as well as public safety benefits because it results in the removal of criminal aliens who otherwise would remain in the community to re-offend.

Proposals to increase ICE-local cooperation, most recently the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, H.R.2278, enjoy strong support among law enforcement leaders across the country. (See samples of such views below.)

I was shocked by some of the statements and assumptions made by representatives of these groups at the [SAFE Act] hearing last month. [They] suggested that local law enforcement officers are incapable of understanding immigration law, that they are unable or unwilling to enforce such laws fairly without discriminating against minorities or legal immigrants, and that they are unable to distinguish between victims and offenders, thus sowing distrust in immigrant communities. They even questioned the motives of those victimized by criminal aliens. They claimed that law enforcement officers are adamantly opposed to any involvement in immigration matters. Of course, they are wrong.

Statements from Law Enforcement Leaders

On the SAFE Act:

H.R. 2278, the "Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act" is the best plan I have seen presented to protect America. The bill, if approved, will give law enforcement agencies across the United States clear direction so immigration enforcement can be consistent throughout all communities.

Sheriff Paul R. Babeu, Pinal County, Ariz., and also on behalf of the Western States Sheriffs Association, including sheriffs from 13 western states.

It has been our opinion from the beginning that the approach taken in the SAFE Act is the approach needed if as a nation we are serious about fixing our broken immigration system.

Chris Crane, President, National ICE Council of the American Federation of Government Employees.

NAFBPO endorsed the SAFE Act (H.R.2278) as presented in the Judiciary Committee as the proper starting point in the correct approach to solving our national immigration problems, as it was introduced.

Zack Taylor, Chairman, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers. > I strongly support the provisions of the SAFE Act (H.R.2278). Sheriff Neil Godfrey, Moore County, N.C.

You can sign me on in support of the SAFE Act.

Sheriff Bob Alford, Johnson County, Texas.

As sworn Sheriffs representing the rule of law for the citizens of our communities, it is imperative that we support measures to strengthen the enforcement of the immigration laws at the federal, state, and local levels. The SAFE Act (H.R.2278), sponsored by Rep. Trey Gowdy, is a measure that truly provides the authority and the tools we need to protect our national authority and enhance public safety. . . . The National Sheriffs Association position paper clearly states our position against any form of amnesty in that we do support the enforcement of immigration laws, and that we should be permitted to assist in this mission.

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Frederick County, Md.

I support the SAFE Act.

Sheriff B.J. Barnes, Guilford County, N.C.

I support the passage of the SAFE Act. Sheriff Ronny R. Anderson, Cumberland County, Pa.

This bill [the SAFE Act] truly aims to address the public safety problems caused by uncontrolled immigration. . . . Representative Gowdy was apparently motivated to introduce this bill by his concern for people in our communities who have been harmed by the criminal acts of those here in defiance of our laws. . . . Like many of my colleagues, I believe the SAFE Act will restore the rule of law in the arena of immigration, provide tools and resources to ICE for enforcement, allow and encourage local agencies to help, and hold DHS leaders accountable through Congressional legislation and oversight. Sheriff Sam Page, Rockingham County, N.C.

In our community we rely on legal immigrants to help many of our local farms. With [the SAFE Act] legislation it would ensure that we could continue to keep the law abiding workers here and catch the illegal ones with the cooperation of the federal agencies and protect our citizens.

Sheriff Michael Carpinelli, Lewis County, N.Y. On Working with ICE:

In my 28-year career in law enforcement in the city of Baltimore and later as chief of Maryland's transportation security, I found it useful to work in partnership with ICE, to effectively address drug dealing, gangs, and other crimes, and keep all our residents safe. I knew my community and needed the federal resources, but they needed me to help them understand how to address the problems in my community. As local law enforcement, we are the boots on the ground every day, and the federal government is needed for backup. In transportation security, we faced a genuine threat from international terrorism, and quite simply, state and local agencies are not equipped to handle it on their own. When we share information and resources, we all can do our jobs better. For local law enforcement not to be involved in enforcing immigration would tie our hands in investigating and preventing crimes. Enforcing immigration laws, like all laws, is not incompatible with good community policing

it's essential to it. Gary W. McLhinney, former president, Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police and Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority.

An individual's immigration status is relevant once they are taken into custody for a criminal offense. Our personnel are allowed to use any and all law enforcement related databases to determine who an individual is, especially when they do not have identification. . . . Our current polity clearly states we will not randomly stop people for the sole purpose of ascertaining immigration status. In addition, our policy does not allow officers to take into consideration one's immigration status if one is a victim of a crime. On the other hand, our policy indicates that we will cooperate with ICE if it serves the public safety interest of our city. Clear policy items such as these need to be conveyed to the community at large and can be used to create a better environment for police-community relations.

Chief Steven A. Mazzie, Everett, Mass., to Jessica Vaughan, March 2008.

The best way to build trust and cooperation with the immigrant communities is for law enforcement officers to enforce the law compassionately and constitutionally. . . . Law enforcement agencies should educate themselves on immigration law as well as develop partnerships with ICE . . . Partnerships with ICE agents will help make communities safer because they are focused on criminal aliens that are causing most of the problems.

Chief James D. Chadwick, retired, Dalton, Ga., to Jessica Vaughan, March 2008.

People have claimed that 287(g) [a popular ICE-local partnership] is prohibitively expensive, but it is not nearly as expensive to the local communities as is the status quo of federal-only immigration enforcement. One recidivist over the course of 10 years how much does he cost the community?

Lieutenant David Wesley Lynch, Whitfield County, Ga., Sheriff's Office, as told to Jessica Vaughan, 2009.

The alleged "chilling effect" of immigration law enforcement has been offered as a putative apology for the wholesale application of discretion. In effect, this notion is that if we enforce immigration law then the illegally present foreign national will refuse to report their personal victimization to law enforcement for fear of deportation/removal. I disagree. Trust is not inspired in the idea that certain crimes will not be enforced by law enforcement. The reverse is true. Trust is built on a foundation of predictability; consistent application of law creates predictability, which inspires trust.

Sheriff Don Hunter, retired, Collier County, Fla., published in Sheriff Magazine, 2007.

Ninety-five percent of the major drug traffickers in our county are illegal criminal aliens. . . . [ICE programs] are the only source we have of identifying those that are in custody. . . . Eighty percent of the people that come through our 287(g) programs were committing other crimes; give the wrong name; you find that they're wanted in other parts of the country child molesting, murder, rape, drug trafficking and it's the only way that we know who we have in our custody. . . . And I can tell you the crime rate in Alamance County has gone down, and the only thing we are doing differently is the 278(g) program which we started in 2007.

Sheriff Terry Johnson, Alamance County, N.C., at a CIS panel in 2011.

It's not just the border counties. It's not just big cities. We're having these [criminal alien] problems in rural Surry County at 536 square miles, and our latest census said about 73,000 people. The same issues that they're having on the border in Arizona, we're having in Mayberry. So it's something that touches us all over the state and all over the United States. It's not just a matter of people coming in illegally; it's the people that are here for the purpose of engaging in criminal conduct. There are lots of drugs, there are lots of weapons, and it is a national security issue.

Sheriff Graham Atkinson, Surry County, N.C. at a CIS panel in 2011.

Our cooperation with ICE through Secure Communities and other ICE programs has benefitted public safety in my county by ensuring that those foreign nationals who commit crimes will be removed from the country instead of returned to the community to find new victims.

Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, Worcester County, Mass.

If I have somebody in my community that is not supposed to be there, and I just write them a ticket because they say their name is so-and-so and let them go, if, a week later, they're in a traffic accident and they end up killing somebody I believe that's on my shoulders. That's my fault. Because I was supposed to do something about that person that was there illegally. . . . If you all remember the Oklahoma City bombing, the perpetrator of that act, McVeigh, was stopped by a traffic violation. So if somebody is saying, well, you know, all you have is a traffic violator there and you can't identify, that's not a big issue for us it is in law enforcement. We have arrested some of those folks and have found out later that they've been murder suspects in other states. They've been wanted. They've been sex offenders. So that kind of issue is very important to us.

Sheriff Dan Altena, Sioux County, Iowa, at a CIS panel in 2011.

We currently have 38 percent of our un-served warrants and many of those will never be served because of documentation/identification problems that we currently are holding are of illegal immigrants.

Sheriff Rick Oliver, Yadkin County, N.C., at a CIS panel in 2011.


[1] "Immigration Enforcement and Community Policing", Center for Immigration Studies, September 2013

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