A week after protesters filled San Antonio streets to support the rights of millions of immigrants, the city’s new police chief spoke out against the use of local police departments to enforce federal immigration law. Police Chief William McManus and City Manager Sheryl Sculley met with the San Antonio Express-News editorial board yesterday, McManus’ first day on the job after two years as chief in Minneapolis.
McManus, 54, said he has spoken against proposals that would make local municipalities responsible for implementing immigration statutes, an opinion echoed by San Antonio Police Officers Association President Teddy Stewart. If police forced to implement certain immigration laws, McManus said, “crime will skyrocket.” He forecast an underreporting of crimes by immigrants. “People who are undocumented will fear police even more,” McManus said. Others argue that some undocumented immigrants are engaging in criminal activity now, and it’s up to local law enforcement to help counter those trends. “It’s going to require all levels of law enforcement and government to cooperate,” said Rick Oltman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.