It’s not every day that the police admit that they don’t want to do their work, or that they’re bad at it. So it’s worth noting that the Police Foundation, a think tank focused "innovation and improvement in policing," thinks that overall, local cops are neither willing nor qualified to enforce immigration law—despite growing pressure to fuse the roles of local and federal agencies in dealing with immigration. In a new report on the role of local police in immigration enforcement, the organization summarizes apprehensions in the police community:
…many police executives were concerned with the impact on the relationship between immigrant communities and police and the probability of reduced cooperation of witnesses and victims of crime, thereby having a negative overall impact on public safety. They were also concerned about increased victimization and exploitation of immigrants, a possible increase in police misconduct, the fiscal impact on law enforcement budgets, the high possibility of error given the complexity of immigration law, the possibility of racial profiling and other civil lawsuits, and the effect on immigrant access to other municipal services.
In other words, they seem to be telling the feds, “stop trying to make us do your job.” Specifically, the officials and experts consulted in the project argued:
Police officers should be prohibited from arresting and detaining persons to solely investigate immigration status in the absence of probable cause of an independent state criminal law violation…. Police officers should be prohibited from arresting and detaining persons to solely investigate immigration status in the absence of probable cause of an independent state criminal law violation…. Local law enforcement leaders and policing organizations should place pressure on the federal government to comprehensively improve border security and reform the immigration system, because the federal government’s failure on both issues has had serious consequences in cities and towns throughout the country.
But recommendations to distance local and federal law enforcement may come too late. Washington is pushing to drastically expand the screening of immigrants at local jails, with the goal of deporting more "criminal aliens." It’s unclear what impact this will have on community policing. Don’t say they didn’t warn you. (h/t Immigration Prof) Image: Standing FIRM