Damn Hippies!

The utopian leftists over at the Police Executive Research Forum – a national police training and policy shop – have weighed in on sanctuary cities, municipalities that limit police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement in order to promote more effective and positive local policing. Apparently, decades of collective experience in police top management in cities across America has caused them all to go soft in in the head and turn into Jerry Garcia, because PERF is all in on such policies.

PERF’s Chuck Wexler, who really doesn’t have enough hair to put any flowers in:

Police chiefs know that today’s unreported domestic violence or sexual assault or robbery can become tomorrow’s reported homicide. This is a special concern in immigrant communities, where many people fear that cooperating with the police may lead to scrutiny and even deportation. It’s why cities have adopted policies like the one in Los Angeles, and it’s why police departments have invested considerable time and resources to build trust and cooperation with all of their communities, including their immigrant communities. They know that when people step forward because they trust their local police, communities are safer.

It’s worth reading the whole thing, especially the examples Wexler offers to show what happens when unauthorized immigrants trust the local police. His thoughts about the utility of the term “sanctuary city” make some sense, too.

Police departments like those in Lowell, Boston, and Dallas have invested considerable effort for years to develop positive relationships between the police and immigrant communities as part of their community policing strategies. For a quarter century, Republican and Democratic presidential administrations and Departments of Justice have been allies of this effort, providing grants and training for cities and otherwise promoting community policing reforms. But now, that alliance has been betrayed. Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda threatens to destroy the progress those local police have made. The  Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has been told to take the gloves off, resulting in a  string of abuses nationwide. In turn, people in immigrant communities are increasingly afraid to call the police:

According to crime statistics, 2017 has seen a 25 percent drop in the number of sexual assaults reported to the LAPD by Latinos. There has also been a 10 percent decrease in the number of domestic violence cases reported to the police. Sheriff Beck also explained that similar decreases were not seen among other ethnic groups. This led the police chief to the conclusion that there is a “strong correlation” between the decrease of reported crimes and the climate of fear within the Hispanic community.

If you think there were 25% fewer Latinas sexually assaulted in Los Angeles compared to last year, you fail at understanding crime statistics. People in immigrant communities – not just undocumented immigrants themselves, but their neighbors too – are becoming increasingly unwilling to summon the police even in cases of serious crime. Sexual assaults that aren’t reported mean assailants continue to victimize people. But instead of listening to police chiefs on the subject of public safety, President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have decided to try to dragoon local police into the ranks of their federal “Deportation Force:”

Sec. 8. Federal-State Agreements. It is the policy of the executive branch to empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.

(a) In furtherance of this policy, the Secretary shall immediately take appropriate action to engage with the Governors of the States, as well as local officials, for the purpose of preparing to enter into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1357(g)).

(b) To the extent permitted by law and with the consent of State or local officials, as appropriate, the Secretary shall take appropriate action, through agreements under section 287(g) of the INA, or otherwise, to authorize State and local law enforcement officials, as the Secretary determines are qualified and appropriate, to perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States under the direction and the supervision of the Secretary. Such authorization shall be in addition to, rather than in place of, Federal performance of these duties.

And, incredibly, to threaten municipalities to choose not to throw away their trust in the neighborhoods with the loss of federal law-enforcement funding:

In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.

Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant politics are an immediate threat to Lowell’s community police. I.C.E. will tear down the house that Ed Davis built, and stand in the rubble gloating, for no better reason than because “illegal is illegal.” If we don’t get this right – and that very well might mean forgoing some federal money – we could end up right back in the days of people throwing bottles at police cars.

People who support Trump like to idolize police officers, in much the same way that people who supported Bush’s Iraq War liked to idolize people in the military – meaning, they like to say some pugnacious words about how wonderful they are, and then send them out to fail. We need federal policies that actually support the LPD’s efforts, and all we’re getting are threats.

And that, much more than a new appreciation for the merits of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, explains why PERF is sounding the alarm about Trump’s reckless and intrusive deportation campaign.

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