Sanctuary Cities and the sham of Community Policing in Illegal immigrant neighborhoods

Posted on August 1, 2015


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 Law Enforcement takes second place in Sanctuary Cities.  Job Number One?  – make everyone gleeful.

Almost universally, these sanctuary cities serve up a stock rationalization of sheltering illegals from immigration enforcement. They claim that if they were to cooperate with federal authorities, their ‘community policing’ programs would falter – the premise being that illegal aliens are reluctant to report crimes if they fear they themselves may be subject to inquiries of their immigration status. It is referred to by entities promoting the sanctuary narrative, as the “Chilling Effect” and by critics, as the “Chilling Effect Myth”.

It is a myth.

Jessica Vaughn, writing in the journal of the Center for Immigration Studies, explains the reality behind cooperative programs, such as 287(g), which we will examine in greater detail later:

The 287(g) training increases local officers’ awareness of when they should consider the immigration status of crime victims — not for the purpose of removal, but to access the various special protections available to victims, witnesses, and informants under immigration law. For example, someone who is a victim of a gang crime (or any crime) who happens to be an illegal alien might be needed to testify or otherwise assist in the prosecution of the criminal. If the alien lacks status, he is subject to removal at any time. To ensure that does not happen prematurely, the local agency can work with ICE to arrange special status, temporary or otherwise, until the case is resolved. These tools have proven to be a much more powerful way to encourage cooperation from the immigrant community than non-cooperation or sanctuary policies.

And as a matter of practical experience, outside of the hyperventilation from the anti-enforcement cabal – partnerships between local and federal law enforcement have not featured statistically significant incidents of residents reporting crimes being themselves the subject of immigration enforcement. The programs weren’t designed for this – in fact, just the opposite was true.

Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, which was a 287(g) partner, during the program’s run, promoted the program to the community as an enhancement of community safety, not a pretense for setting up a general dragnet for policing unlawful presence. Lt. Wes Lynch affirmed that, “Since starting the 287(g) program at our jail, we have had more communication with the immigrant community, not less.” Lynch says immigrants approached officers at the jail more regularly and volunteered information resulting in locating predators. For example, one individual thought to be illegal came to the jail to report the return to his neighborhood, of a drug dealer who had previously been removed as an aggravated felon, enabling the department to prosecute him on criminal immigration charges as a penalty for re-entry.

Prince William County, Virginia conducted a broad research study on Community Policing, crime and law enforcement issues titled Evaluation Study of Prince William County’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy, the final report being released in 2010. It included some remarkable findings. The authors of the study used a scale of 1 to 4 in which, a rating of 1 would represent never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = often, 4 = regularly /all the time.

According to the proponents of the ‘Chilling Effect’ meme, if a jurisdiction maintained a cooperative arrangement such as 287(g) with federal immigration authorities, it would be expected that Sheriff’s Deputies would experience difficulty in getting residents in predominantly immigrant communities to report crime, and that you would see a rating of 4, indicating the highest level of difficulty. But in fact, the report shows an altogether different result. Of legal residents, deputies rated difficulty of cooperation in reporting crime, at 1.90 – basically between never a problem and occasionally a problem. Of illegal immigrant residents? 2.20 – slightly higher but still firmly within the occasional bracket and functionally non-discernible from the behavior of the legal resident population. Only about 10% to 13% of officers reported that getting illegal immigrants to report crime was a problem occurring regularly or all the time.

The authors go on to conclude on this subject that, “Our surveys of PWC residents run counter to this notion, showing that crime reporting by Hispanics is equivalent to that of non-Hispanics, and that reporting by Hispanics did not decline from 2008 to 2010.”

Are Hispanics in general, wildly enthusiastic about cooperative immigration enforcement? It’s a mixed bag and the media tends to show Hispanic sentiment through the exclusive lens of opposition. The researchers of the PWC study admitted that there was a modest degree of dissatisfaction registered about the program following its implementation, which is hardly unexpected. However, Latino Opinions, conducted a poll from July 2013, of U.S. Hispanic adults in which they found that 60% of Hispanics only supported some form of path to citizenship only if illegal immigration is reduced by 90% (which would be impossible unless much more aggressive border protection and internal enforcement policies were adopted).

The study also found that 60% of Hispanic voters support tougher enforcement, with only 35% opposed; that 64% support the incorporation of E-Verify in the hiring process and that ‘immigration reform’ was ranked last (31%) among a list of four priority issues, behind the economy (62%), healthcare (57%), and education (45%).

The entire proposition of sanctuary policies complimenting community policing is built on a logical fallacy – that overlooking one crime (unlawful presence), enhances the enforcement of other laws and fosters respect of the law. Nothing could be more nonsensical or devoid of reality. Communities where illegals are provided a safe haven by cities against the possibility of deportation, are a magnet for the criminal element among them who are convicted felons, gang members, human traffickers and footsoldiers of the Mexican narcotrafficking syndicates. A more potent incubator of criminal activity could not be devised, than that of an enforcement free zone, such as a sanctuary city.

An excellent negation to sanctuary policies, is the law enforcement strategy incorporated by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, in the 1990’s to get a grasp of the NYC’s intolerable crime statistics. The program, which Bratton employed earlier as Chief of the New York City Transit Police, was dubbed, the “Broken Windows Theory”.

The concept is that broken windows left unrepaired symbolized to the criminal element that an environment of lawlessness prevailed in the area. Once law enforcement in NYC began dealing with violations considered as petty crime like vandalism and graffiti, the overall advantage in the equation shifted back towards safer communities.

Officials in sanctuary cities consider violations of immigration law as petty crimes and as a consequence, an environment of crime is spawned rather than re-mediated. The success of “Broken Windows Theory” should strongly argue for its adoption in the cause of combating crime in neighborhoods where the majority of the residents are in violation of immigration law. Unlawful presence is analogous to broken windows or graffiti.

It’s hard to discern the reasoning that leads people to conclude that disrespect among a populace towards something as fundamental as immigration law is somehow going to foster respect for other laws. It runs contrary to everything we know about human nature. The idea that non-cooperation with immigration authorities and community are complementary, derives in large part from a position statement, “Enforcing Immigration Law:The Role of State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement”, published in April 2005 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and presented at their annual conference in 2004 in Los Angeles.

The paper, includes a rationalization mimicking the most common objection raised by city officials nationally to cooperation with immigration law enforcement:

Immigration enforcement by state and local police could have a chilling effect in immigrant communities and could limit cooperation with police by members of those communities. Local police agencies depend on the cooperation of immigrants, legal and illegal, in solving all sorts of crimes and in the maintenance of public order. Without assurances that they will not be subject to an immigration investigation and possible deportation, many immigrants with critical information would not come forward, even when heinous crimes are committed against them or their families.

A few things to notice. Where ever possible, the term “immigrant” is substituted in place of the term, illegal alien or illegal immigrant. This is a subtle method of blurring the distinction between law abiders and law breakers. It also attempts to foster in the mind of the reader, a false equivalency, the desired outcome being a generic designation – “immigrant community”. Therefore, the inference is that working with federal authorities is “anti-immigrant” or hostile to immigrants. The concept of maintaining ‘public order’, in the viewpoint of the authors of this position paper, is intractably separate from and at cross purposes with enforcement of immigration law. Oil and water.

The essential premise of “community policing” as interpreted by supporters of sanctuary policies is rooted in a glaring contradiction. In various outlines promoting community policing, reference is made to residents in the communities subject to the policies as “stakeholders”. A stakeholder is defined by Merriam Webster as someone who has “one who has a stake in an enterprise”, such as a person who has invested in a business. So it has essentially a business connotation primarily – similar to stockholder. It is not a bad analogy for community policing when referring to citizens and legal immigrants. But it is inappropriate to include illegal immigrants in the category of stakeholders. Because, as Stephen Steinlight, writing in the Center For Immigration Studies‘ journal, argues:

To stretch “community” to encompass those who reject the bond, who consciously undermine its laws by unlawful entry and commit additional offenses to remain, who steal public benefits from lawful stakeholders and unlawfully take employment, stealing the livelihoods of members while refusing to accept the community’s legal authority – is to be complicit in destroying community.

The IACP report also touched on what it deemed practical considerations typically given by police chiefs for resisting a collaborative role with ICE’s interior enforcement agents – additional costs of staffing and incarceration and crime prevention priorities. While it may be the case that funding shortfalls from the federal government may exist in certain instances, most often the true underlying motives stem from political pressure from city officials, political correctness and political ambition.

One of the characteristics of community policing as it has evolved, is that racial identity groups and local activist organizations structured along the lines of promoting the narrow interests of various minorities, are defining the rules of engagement in day to day encounters with law enforcement. ‘Community Relations Officers’ are found in every mid to large city in America.

The Community Relations Division of the LAPD for example, touts that it coordinates quarterly meetings between the Chief of Police and various community forums such as Asian, Hispanic, African-American, Gay & Lesbian, and youth and clergy groups citywide. Sanctuary policies serve the purpose of pandering to and appeasing these groups. An example of this pathetic brown-nosing are the statements from Rick Stanek, Sheriff of Hennepin County Minnesota:

In the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, we are committed to “community-oriented policing” — working to build trusting relationships with all of the residents and visitors in our communities, regardless of their legal status. We regularly conduct roundtable policy discussions with a diverse group of community leaders; we provide extensive education and diversity training for our deputies

The only people missing from these policy discussions are legal citizens and taxpayers. Their input is of no consequence, so all intents and purposes, unlawful presence already has acquired a de facto amnesty status. Heather McDonald, writing in the City Journal, illustrates this:

I asked the Miami Police Department’s spokesman, Detective Delrish Moss, about his employer’s policy on lawbreaking illegals. In September, the force arrested a Honduran visa violator for seven vicious rapes. The previous year, Miami cops had had the suspect in custody for lewd and lascivious molestation, without checking his immigration status. Had they done so, they would have discovered his visa overstay, a deportable offense, and so could have forestalled the rapes. “We have shied away from unnecessary involvement dealing with immigration issues,” explains Moss, choosing his words carefully, “because of our large immigrant population.”

City officials are often so afraid of their own shadows, that they have to package law enforcement to the minority population in politically correct rhetoric. Here’s a Santa Cruz city councilman walking on eggshells, practically apologizing for the need to round up murderous illegal alien gangs:

“We need to do everything we can to stop the gang violence while at the same time maintaining the community’s trust and open communication with our police department and law enforcement agencies so part of a solution has to be — must be — that there be information and education to the public,” Councilman Tony Madrigal said, adding people need to be told immigration authorities are coming to Santa Cruz for a specific purpose. “Any cooperation that happens cannot and should not whittle down the trust and the open communication that has taken so long to establish and build and grow.”

This and countless other examples, illustrate that multiculturalism, diversity and racial identity politics have either indoctrinated city officials into policies that increase the public crime risk – or they have been intimidated by community organizers into adopting them lest they incur the displeasure of “immigrants rights” advocacy groups.

Everyone seems to have a voice in these cities. Everyone, that is, except law abiding legal residents that pay the taxes for law enforcement and public safety. They had better find their voice soon, or Kate Steinle’s death won’t be the last life claimed by illegal felons and the false compassion of sanctuary.

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