The nation’s largest association of police chiefs is distributing an unusual primer on immigration enforcement to thousands of law enforcement agencies, saying the absence of a national immigration policy has left local communities with an “overwhelming” burden, reports USA Today. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) offers instruction on when state and local officers may intervene in cases involving illegal immigrants. It stops short of urging local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws but says agencies can no longer ignore the local troubles posed by the explosive growth of undocumented immigrants. “Because there has been very little federal assistance on this issue, it’s been pushed down to us,” IACP president Joseph Carter said. “Our frustration is that this has now become an issue for our membership.”
The report says local police are confronted with human smuggling operations, crime victims reluctant to cooperate with police out of fear they will be deported, the rejuvenation of hate groups targeting new immigrant communities, and community disputes involving the location of day-laborer hiring sites or complaints related to overcrowded housing. Carter said the IACP document responded to “numerous” requests for guidance from its membership, which numbers about 20,000 police officials.