Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Task Force on 21st Century Policing: "Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and nonserious crime."
In light of clashes between communities of color and law enforcement, including in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, President Barack Obama created the Task Force on 21st Century Policing in December 2014. The goal of the task force was to recommend ways to reduce crime while increasing trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Yesterday, the task force submitted its recommendations to President Obama.
One of the recommendations relates directly to a modern trend in immigration enforcement: "Law enforcement agencies should build relationships based on trust with immigrant communities. This is central to overall public safety."
To implement that recommendation, the "action item" is to "Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and nonserious crime. 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."
Note that this recommendation substantially departs from what has been happening in the United States in recent years, as well as the direction that the Obama administration was headed for its first six years in office.. With Immigration And Nationality Act § 287(g) agreements between state and local police agencies and federal immigration authorities, state and local immigration enforcement laws like Arizona's S.B. 1070, the recently-dismantled Secure Communities, and rogue operations like Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, state and local law enforcement have been deeply involved in immigration enforcement and have been aggressively facilitating removal of noncitizens charged of small time non-violent crimes, such as driving without a valid license.
We will see how the U.S., state, and local governments respond to the recommendation. The recommendation already is provoking criticism from immigration hawks.
There also are some other immigration-related items in the Task Force report:
1.9.1 Action item: Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and nonserious crime.
1.9.2 Action item: Law enforcement agencies should ensure reasonable and equitable language access for all persons who have encounters with police or who enter the criminal justice system.
1.9.3 Action item: The U.S. Department of Justice should not include civil immigration information in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.
2.13 Recommendation: Law enforcement agencies should adopt and enforce policies prohibiting profiling and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, housing status, occupation, or language fluency.