News / USA

US Police Chiefs Complain About Arizona Immigration Law

TEXT SIZE - +

Police chiefs from around the United States came to Washington Wednesday to express concern about a controversial new immigration law in the southwestern state of Arizona.

Police chiefs from Arizona and from around the country met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The chiefs are concerned about the impact of a new immigration law passed in Arizona that requires local law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone during a police stop if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant.  Click here to read the actual text of the law.

Among those who met with the attorney general was the police chief of Tucson, Arizona, Roberto Villasenor.  He spoke to reporters after the meeting. "This is not the focus of local law enforcement.  Immigration is the focus of the federal government, and by bringing local law enforcement into the picture it damages that relationship that we have spent years cultivating to try and get us into a position where we can work well with our community," he said.

Police chiefs from other major U.S. cities including Houston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Los Angeles also took part in the closed-door meeting.

Charlie Beck is the chief of police in Los Angeles.  Beck argues that requiring police officers to check on the immigration status of individuals will become a major distraction for law enforcement. "Laws like this will actually increase crime, not decrease crime.  And they do that because they decrease reporting, they decrease witnesses coming forward, they stop our ability to solve our major crimes and they break down a trust that we have been building for decades," he said.

Attorney General Holder did not speak with reporters.  He is considering a legal challenge to the Arizona law.

But other police officials in Arizona support the law and said the police chiefs should be preparing to implement the law later this year when it takes effect, rather than meet with officials in Washington.

The Arizona law came about after a political backlash against illegal immigration in the state, fueled in part by criminal incidents allegedly involving illegal immigrants.

The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to deploy 1,200 additional National Guard troops along the southwestern border to bolster security along the border with Mexico, though some Republicans were quick to complain that number is too small.

The focus on border security comes after a number of lawmakers from southwestern states complained about the issue, including Republican Congressman Ted Poe of Texas. "This country protects the borders of other nations better than it protects our own border, and it is important that we make this border security issue a priority for the national security of the United States," he said.

Although the Arizona law remains controversial, public opinion polls show Americans generally support it.  A new poll by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo found that 61 percent of those asked favor the new law, but that there was a sharp divide between whites and Latinos over the law.

70 percent of whites support the law, but only 31 percent of Latinos support it.  In addition, the survey found that 58 percent of Latinos strongly oppose the law, which goes into effect later this year.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid