In an open letter to law enforcement leaders, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked sheriffs in California to cease harmful practices that target illegal alien communities.
The letter comes at a time when California is burdened with nearly $30 billion budget deficits and a new Rasmussen Poll that states 67 percent of Americans want states to tackle the illegal alien problem plaguing the country.
The ACLU contends apprehending illegal aliens costs local agencies money they no longer have to combat those residing in California unlawfully.
“Most law enforcement officers do not want to double as federal immigration agents. They know that it discourages witnesses and victims of crime from coming forward and ultimately harms public safety for everyone,” said report co-author and ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) Staff Attorney Julia Harumi Mass. “We want to partner with law enforcement agencies and share what we have learned: that sheriffs and police chiefs across California can adopt practices that protect everyone and make wise use of taxpayer dollars.”
However the ACLU report and letter fail to acknowledge that a study by Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) illustrated California spends roughly $20 billion a year in services for illegal aliens in the Golden State.
Illegal immigration activists point out that if local, state and federal law enforcement did their job and enforced the nation’s immigration laws there would be more money for departments who are committed to keeping the peace.
The ACLU, however, sees things much differently.
“The federal government is not playing fair with local police and sheriffs. Most don’t want to engage in the dirty work of immigration enforcement or take on its steep costs,” report author Amalia Greenberg Delgado explained. “At a time of shrinking police departments’ staff and budgets, we hope California’s law enforcement leadership will review unnecessarily costly practices and rebuild trust with communities.”
The ACLU report went on to stipulate that “the legal framework for current police practices in immigrant communities – from vehicle checkpoints and impoundments to prolonged detention of immigrants in local jails, among others (was a harsh reality).” The report details the financial and human costs of these practices, including personal stories.
Rule of Law cities in California cite the safety issues that come along with those driving without drivers’ licenses or car insurance. The Escondido Police Department is one of those cities who perform various and random check points (of all residents) in an effort to curtail their unusually high number of car accidents. “It works,” says Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher.
Nevertheless, the ACLU believes that immigrant-rich communities think Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is lurking in the shadows at these drivers’ license check points. Maher says that’s not true.
“People fear that when the sheriff is called, ICE is not far behind. This is a huge problem especially in regards to domestic violence,” added Mass. “If victims are reluctant to call local police because they are afraid of becoming ensnared in the ICE web, then batterers enjoy impunity. That’s bad for everyone.”
To alleviate those fears, Chief Maher makes an effort to reach out to his community by attending community gatherings and explaining he is not calling ICE unnecessarily. “My department is trying to rid the city of criminals,” Maher said through an interpreter. “Don’t you want me to remove the rapists, child molesters and murders from your neighborhood?”
As the recession continues to linger, taxpayers are looking at the cold-hard facts that illegal immigration cost them money and are voicing their opinions through various polls like Rasmussen. The results are in- two out of three likely voters want the immigration laws enforced- period.
Read the ACLU Report Costs & Consequences – ACLU Special Report.pdf
Read the ACLU Cost-Saving Proposals ACLU Cost-Saving Proposals.pdf
Read the Rasmussen Poll – A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters – two-out-of-three – think a state should have the right to enforce immigration laws if it believes the federal government is not enforcing them. Just 22% disagree and say states should not have that right. (To see survey question wording, click here).
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
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