The National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA), the largest Minority
Law Enforcement Association in America, with over 25,000 members nationwide, opposes efforts to engage state and local police authorities in the enforcement of federal civil immigration laws.
The National Latino Peace Officers Association believes in the “Rule of Law and the Letter of Law.” However, local and state police “cannot be all things to all people.” Immigration is a social problem that cannot be fixed with police enforcement only. We support the President’s Immigration Plan that is multi-faceted.
Since 1972, the NLPOA has been “Bridging the Gap between Latinos and law Enforcement.” We believe that immigration enforcement by local and state police will damage the trust between police and the communities they aim to protect and may lead to civil rights violations. This legislation will make all Americans less safe; will take our nation less secure; and Americans will lose more freedoms that many Americans have died for, both in the Second World War and now in Iraq.
Do we as Americans want our police searching for convicted sex offenders? Do we as Americans want our police looking for missing children? Do we as Americans want our police investigating crimes perpetrated on senior citizens? Or, do we want our police checking immigration documents and holding suspected undocumented immigrants? Spending local and state police resources on immigration enforcement will deprive local citizens of their basic right of protection from crime.
State and local police already have the ability to arrest and detain foreign nationals who are involved in criminal activities and already contact federal immigration agents. They do so every day. The new proposed policies confer no additional authority for police to arrest criminals or refer them to the Department of Homeland Security.
We urge you to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform and to oppose any efforts to involve state and local police in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Felipe A. Ortiz,
National NLPOA President
December 5, 2005