In the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking presidential victory, police chiefs in a number of “sanctuary cities” have spoken out against the president-elect’s immigration policies, stating that they will not use their police force as an extension of federal immigration enforcement. According to PoliceOne’s Cole Zercoe, the following arguments highlight the battle between local law enforcement and the Trump administration.
Some police chiefs and other officials are taking a clear stance against Trump on the matter.
Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Police Department chief said, according to the Los Angeles Times: “We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status. We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”
He’s one of many chiefs who have outright rejected aiding the feds with immigration enforcement.
Here’s what Tuscon Police Chief Chris Magnus had to say on the issue, from the Arizona Daily Star: “It is important our residents understand that the policies and practices put in place over the past decade to direct and clarify how our officers interact with undocumented persons and handle immigration enforcement issues are not changing. We will not compromise our commitment to community policing and public safety by taking on immigration enforcement responsibilities that appropriately rest with federal authorities.”
And here’s a statement from the Denver Police Department, via the Denver Post: “Immigration enforcement is handled at the federal level — not by local law enforcement. The Denver Police Department has not participated in those enforcement efforts in the past and will not be involved in the future.”
Aurora, Chicago, Seattle, New York City, Nashville – the list goes on of police departments and city officials taking a stand against Trump.
This is an issue that agencies argue could potentially threaten investigations and public safety.
Law enforcement officials have argued that barring officers from asking subjects about their immigration status allows witnesses and victims to speak more freely about crimes, without fear of deportation.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Capt. Jeff Scroggin told the Times, “We just want people to come forward so we have a better community. It doesn’t matter whether they’re an immigrant or going through the process of citizenship. Whatever it is, we want to hear from them. We don’t want them to not cooperate. It’s important to keep the community safe.”
The concerns that a reversal of these policies would fracture communities and potentially threaten public safety come in an era when police agencies are arguably working harder to rebuild trust in their communities.