News / USA

US Police Chiefs Complain About Arizona Immigration Law

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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid