Law Enforcement Leaders Raise Red Flags on ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Bill
October 20, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of a vote on the Senate floor this afternoon on the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” (S. 2146), law enforcement leaders have raised serious concerns about this kind of legislation.
On Monday, the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriffs’ Association sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee voicing concern over the bill and urging alternative approaches. Last week, the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force sent a letter signed by 25 police chiefs and sheriffs from around the country opposing any sweeping legislation that would undermine community policing and community safety.
“I think we’ve got a lot of passion around the issue. I don’t know we’ve been able to have an in-depth dialogue,” Police Chief Richard S. Biehl of Dayton, Ohio, tells the Washington Times in a story today. “No one is willing to wrestle with complexity, and this is a very complex issue. My approach here was try to find a reasonable path through complexity in the absence of any guidance at the national level.”
“I don’t need a study, I don’t need data, I’ve got real life experience after 29 years on this job that tells me this is bad policy,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo adds in the article, which notes that he “vehemently objects” to Austin being called a sanctuary city. “ … It really upsets me that I have to spend time combatting bad policy that’s really playing on people’s emotions.”
Law enforcement agents aren’t alone. On Thursday, the United States Conference of Mayors also sent a letter opposing any legislation that would withhold resources from so-called “sanctuary cities.”
On Sunday, the New York Times Editorial Board wrote, “The answer to an immigrant population in the shadows is — as it has been throughout our history — integration and welcome instead of scapegoating and oppression. And leaving local law enforcement free to focus on catching criminals and protecting public safety.”
“The concerns law enforcement is raising should give Congress pause,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “We don’t need bills designed to score political points. We need Congress to listen to leaders across the country. They are calling for broad immigration reform that helps keep everyone in our communities safe.”