State and local law enforcement should not be involved in immigration enforcement, President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing concludes in part.
Monday, the presidential task force publicly released its final report “to strengthen community policing and trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”
More than 100-pages in length, the report offers best practices and suggestions for law enforcement to improve interactions with their communities.
A portion deals with immigrants arguing that state and local law enforcement must build relationships with immigrant communities — it does not delineate legal versus illegal immigrants.
“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 reads.
In order to do this, the task force argues, local and state law enforcement agencies should be excluded from immigration enforcement.
“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,” the report reads.
The report further suggested that the Justice Department continue to not include immigration information in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. The report reads:
The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database is an electronic clearinghouse that law enforcement 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 (nonmanadatory 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 Federation for American Immigration Reform highlighted the recommendations in a Monday afternoon “Immigration Update” bulletin arguing the recommendations would effectively end immigration enforcement because it would leave the matter solely in the hands of the federal government.
“And that’s the rub because at the federal level, the Obama administration has systematically gutted most interior and perimeter responsibility. This administration won’t enforce the laws nationally and won’t tolerate it locally,” FAIR explained in its bulletin.
“Ultimately, enforcement has to happen at one level or the other – ideally at both levels (concurrent authority) – yet if the recommendations of the task force were put in place and no state and local enforcement or information sharing was permitted, all remaining vestiges of immigration controls would cease to exist in the U.S.,” it added.