National Immigration Law Center
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Police Officers Already Overburdened

Compose

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2013

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, delatorre@nilc.org

Law Enforcement to Washington:

Don’t Turn Police Officers into the Long Arm of Immigration Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Changes proposed to S. 744, the bipartisan Senate immigration bill, as well as the SAFE Act, an anti-immigrant bill that was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee on June 18, would compel law enforcement officers to engage in immigration enforcement activities or risk losing funding. Proposed amendments to the Senate bill also would require that civil immigration status information be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Below is a statement from George Gascon, San Francisco’s district attorney:

“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect and serve their communities, no matter where the members of those communities were born. Forcing officers to engage in detecting and detaining immigrants here without authorization could threaten the delicate ties with immigrant and Latino communities that law enforcement leaders and officers work so hard to foster. Worse, these practices add to an already overburdened police officer’s to-do list, potentially limiting his or her ability to investigate or prevent crime.

“The House of Representatives’ proposal to add extraneous civil immigration information to the NCIC database doesn’t just add unnecessary clutter, it could make a police officer’s job more dangerous. The NCIC is a valuable tool that can tell an officer whether the person the officer has stopped is a threat to the community or to the officer himself. The value of NCIC is lost when we throw in thousands of civil immigration records that local police are not trained or equipped to analyze. We shouldn’t force an officer to wade through civil immigration information during these potentially dangerous moments in an officer’s day.

“Instead of burdening police officers with unfunded mandates, both the House of Representatives and the Senate should focus on how best to reform our immigration system to allow those living in fear of deportation to get on a road to citizenship.”

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