Sunday, June 03, 2007

Local Police Struggle To Gain Immigrants' Trust

Cara Buckley wrote an article on May 31, 2007 in the New York Times titled "New York City Police Seek Trust Among Immigrants." The NYPD has a New Immigrant-Special Outreach Unit that tries to build trust among immigrants to talk with the local police. This effort makes sense because the police need the trust of those living in the city in order to help protect them, get information about crimes, and keep in touch with them when there are problems.

A big problem now, though, is that the local police in other cities and towns are actively trying to put immigrants in their communities into trouble with federal immigration officials. For example, in one New Jersey town, the local police may even have violated basic, fundamental Constitutional rights in order to coerce an immigrant into revealing his immigration status and then turning him over for deportation -- and this is someone that had not committed any crime, but the police came across him while trying to obtain information about another crime.

If the local police want to gain the trust of immigrants in order to obtain information about crimes they are investigating, then they must not be able to violate people's basic rights and start to get them deported, especially when they did not commit any crime. Unfortunately, this is happening in various cities and towns.

While the NYPD is struggling to get immigrants to trust them, when police in nearby cities and towns have the opposite policy and are actively trying to deport innocent immigrants, it is far easier for immigrants to play it safe and have a blanket response of refusing to talk to any police than to try to convince them to keep a careful chart of which police have a sensible policy and which police have an outrageous policy.

The NYPD should be spending more time convincing the police in other nearby cities and towns to adopt a uniform policy of encouraging immigrants to come forward. Either that or develop a system or code to signal to immigrants that the NYPD is one of the "good" cities but that of course it makes sense that immigrants should refuse to talk to local police in one of the "bad" cities.

Of course, if police wanted to focus on securing national security, they would adopt a uniform policy of strongly encouraging immigrants to come forward with the information they have -- and uniformly refusing to report immigrants to federal immigration authorities.


Post a Comment

<< Home