“Immigration enforcement by local police is counterproductive to community policing efforts. It undermines the trust and cooperation of immigrant communities, could lead to charges of racial profiling, and increases our response time to urgent calls for service,” says Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt. The Houston Chronicle quoted Hurtt in support of a Police Foundation report, quoted yesterday in Crime & Justice News, critical of the federal program encouraging local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.
Houston is joining a federal program to check the immigration status of jail inmates. Hurtt said that will require the assignment of 22 police officers to receive federal training and cost an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million a year to operate. The chief also said the department pledged years ago it would not allow officers to question residents at random about their immigration status.