Local Law Enforcement Leaders Discuss Immigration with President Obama

Assistant Director of Communications

May 13, 2014

Congressional Action is Urgent for Community Safety

**For a recording of today’s call click here.**

WASHINGTON, D.C.Local law enforcement leaders met with President Obama today to talk about the pressing need for immigration reform.

Following the meeting, participants joined a telephonic press call to talk about the meeting and law enforcement leaders’ urgency for Congress to vote on immigration reform that restores honor to the rule of law, employs local resources responsibly and adds to our nation’s security.

Also today, the National Immigration Forum released a paper that encapsulates this support: “5 Reasons Law Enforcement Officials Support Immigration Reform.”

The following are quotes from law enforcement leaders on today’s call:

Art Acevedo, Police Chief, Austin, Texas:

“Immigration reform is almost universally supported by law enforcement, the clergy, and the American people. The time to act is now.”

Sheriff Jerry Demings, Orange County, Fla.:

“The time is now for reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, and we look forward to working with our national and state partners to make that happen. In Florida this is a significant issue because of the nearly 1 million undocumented individuals believed to be in the state. And while tourism is central to our state’s economy, we still have a significant agriculture industry that would be negatively impacted if we do not address immigration reform.”

Robert Haas, Police Commissioner, Cambridge, Mass.:

“There has been a major sea change in public opinion around immigration reform. Law enforcement has been advocating for a long time because we need to be clear in our core mission, which is building community trust. The notion of community policing is to develop that pathway of communication within the community and we really want a strong relationship and commitment and strong public trust of the police. We urgently need immigration reform because our current immigration system doesn’t help foster that.”

Chief James R. Lopez, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:

“Law enforcement needs clear direction regarding immigration reform, and it must come from Washington. Homeland security begins with community security, and community security begins with community trust. That trust is crucial in the immigrant communities we serve.”

Ron Teachman, Police Chief, South Bend, Ind.:

“The current situation creates a climate that fosters criminal enterprise. Because we know our undocumented residents are more fearful of deportation than of being victimized, they are exploited in the workplace, in their neighborhoods, and sometimes even in their own homes. We need to break through that fear so we can establish trust, cooperation and collaboration. We need Congress to act. We can’t have our local and national security hijacked by a handful of elected officials with a personal agenda.”