The International Association of Chiefs of Police has announced its opposition to a pending House bill that would give state and local law enforcement agencies jurisdiction to enforce U.S. immigration law, reports the Washington Times. IACP President Joseph Estey, chief of the Hartford, Vt., police department, urged Congress to proceed with caution when considering the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act, saying it could significantly effect state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies. “The IACP opposes any plan that would coerce local and state law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws without their approval,” Estey said. “Many leaders in the law enforcement community have serious concerns about the chilling effect any measure of this nature would have on legal and illegal aliens reporting criminal activity or assisting police in criminal investigations.”
The CLEAR Act, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Norwood, Georgia Republican, would give 600,000 state and local police officers authority to enforce federal immigration law during the course of their normal duties. The bill has 125 bipartisan congressional co-sponsors and has been endorsed by more than 50 national, regional, and local law enforcement organizations. Norwood said the IACP represents political appointees, not rank-and-file officers, who he asserted were generally supporting the proposal.