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March 04, 2011
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Report: Police chiefs unhappy over immigration role

Study by Police Executive Research Forum cites worries about eroding community ties

New York Times

As many state legislatures consider laws to expand the role of local police departments in immigration control, police chiefs across the country say they are reluctant to take on these tasks and want clear lines drawn between local crime-fighting and federal immigration enforcement, according to a new report by a police research group.

Dozens of police department commanders who participated in the report recommended that local officers should be explicitly prohibited from arresting people solely because of their immigration status, and should have orders to protect victims and witnesses regardless of that status.

The report, issued on Thursday by the Police Executive Research Forum, cites worries among police chiefs that if they are pulled into immigration enforcement, a job that was limited until recently to federal agents, their ties to immigrant communities will be eroded, with the result that crimes would not be reported and witnesses would be afraid to cooperate in investigations.

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