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Thursday, October 22, 2009

See No Illegal, Speak No Illegal

From the October 2009 edition of Poder

It takes some big cojones, or perhaps the wisdom of a wise monkey, for a police chief to announce that he’s ignoring certain laws. Not those funny ones, like ordinances governing marijuana smoking in nightclubs or sexual abuse of animals, but a vast set of very fearsome federal statutes.


“It takes a lot of hard work on our part, going out there, going on television, going on Spanish radio and Spanish television, going out in the public, going to the communities, letting them know, ‘Trust us, you’ve got to trust us, we are not interested in enforcing these immigration laws,’” Miami police chief John Timoney told Helen Ferre, the host of Issues on WPBT-Channel 2 over the summer. “It makes our life just that much more difficult.” Difficult, because people without proper immigration papers often refrain from reporting crimes, fearing cops will end up reporting them for not having proper immigration papers.


Timoney and 60 other members of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association are politely telling Congress that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s 287(g) program is dumb. Under the program, approximately 60 police and sheriff departments across the country have joined ICE’s hunts for undocumented immigrants. Nine of the ICE-deputized departments are in Virginia, eight in North Carolina; Florida is tied for third with Arizona, each of which has five. (In the Sunshine State, they include sheriff’s offices in Jacksonville, and in Bay, Brevard, Collier, and Manatee counties.) Read on.

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