Opponents of illegal immigration are setting their sights on controversial police policies that instruct officers to refrain from reporting non-criminal undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, reports the Arizona Republic. The illegal-immigration foes are championing ballot measures and legislation to overturn the policies, which amount to “don’t ask” provisions when dealing with undocumented residents who haven’t committed crimes other than being in the country illegally. Most Phoenix-area police agencies have “don’t ask” policies in place or support them. “The policy is you don’t do it because we feel (immigration) law does not fall under our authority, but the (immigration foes) are now demanding that we do it,” said Ralph Tranter of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police. “We are also concerned about being mired in immigration enforcement.”
Immigration foes have introduced a wave of laws and ballot initiatives in Arizona and other states to ban the policies. Some legislators and presidential candidates want to withhold anti-terrorism and other federal funding to sanctuary cities in hopes of pressing them to enforce immigration laws, usually the job of the federal government. “For some, the war on illegal immigrants has taken precedent over the war on terrorism,” said Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute at New York University law school. More than 70 cities, counties and states have policies that restrict enforcement of federal immigration laws by local authorities, says a preliminary list compiled by the National Immigration Law Center. Perhaps hundreds more of the policies exist.