PRESS STATEMENT: Anti-SB54 Resolutions Erode Immigrant Community Trust in Police

April 25, 2018

Anti-SB54 Resolutions Erode Immigrant Community Trust in Police

With regards to the announcement by Hermandad Mexicana for the immigrant community not to cooperate with police [The Orange County Register] in response to several Orange County cities passing resolutions to opt out of CA SB54 (A bill which limits, but does not prohibit, police cooperation with ICE), DREAM Team LA’s position is that we will not be drawn into a debate about dividing the immigrant community into “cooperate” or “non-cooperation” when the issue of community cooperation with the police is squarely directed at these Orange County Law Enforcement Agencies. The question needs to be placed at the feet of these police chiefs; “Do you rely upon the immigrant community’s trust for effective policing?” “How does your city council’s action affect your ability to do your job and keep your community safe?” Studies have shown that undocumented immigrants are far more likely to be victims of a crime than perpetrators of one. Responsible police chiefs have stated that their job is made easier when people feel free to cooperate with police, specifically when undocumented community members know they will not be turned over to ICE when reporting a crime as a victim or witness.

DREAM Team LA has had a hand in crafting and advocating for the various iterations of California statewide legislation to protect undocumented immigrants from having local law enforcement act as immigration enforcement agents and eroding public trust in police. From advocating against the police/ICE collaborations of 287(g) agreements empowering local police to execute immigration raids, replaced by “Secure Communities” which did no live up to its hype of making communities “secure”. Then to advocating for the California Trust Act to limit immigrant “hold” requests in jails, strengthened by the TRUTH Act, and now to SB54, The Values Act. Our position remains that no local, city, county, or state agency should ever be a part of a federal deportation process. Families should be together. It’s police and ICE that need to be separated.

Thus far the media has allowed Orange County LEAs to remain unheard, or rather – unchallenged, in their obligation to follow state law (SB54) and the conflict placed upon them by their city councils to ignore that law. Theirs is the only position that matters when it comes to community trust and undocumented immigrant cooperation. How are they dealing with elected officials placing politics over the reputations of their police departments?

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