Local law enforcement are often characterized as the enemy of immigrant communities. Police authority often seems to be the direct vehicle of terror in our neighborhoods and our families. The flagship of this seeming war on immigrant communities is the 287g program that allows local and state law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. (Read the story of yet another town that has chosen to enter into this program HERE)
Despite the abuse and victimization by many local law enforcement- this is NOT the the whole story.
In towns, counties and states across the country, local government, immigrant rights activists and local law enforcement are working together to protect immigrant communities and make all of our neighborhoods safer. In many places, local law enforcement are a part of immigrant rights coalitions being built by advocates – they are standing firm for public safety by supporting safety and openness within our immigrant communities.
Immigrant advocates have started giving immigrant rights workshops to the local law enforcement, inviting police officers to community forums to meet their local neighbors and give residents a chance to communicate with local departments, and offering to translate public documents for distribution to a larger group of residents. Granted, these types of opportunities are impossible in certain areas- but in certain communities where these actions CAN be taken, the rewards are HUGE for everyone involved.
We at FIRM think the time is NOW for all of us to reach out to our local law enforcement and work to promote pro-active positive relationships, where possible, BEFORE a 287g or some other extreme measure is taken. For more information on building relationships with local law enforcement, or fighting a 287g program in your area visit HERE