Arizona’s new crackdown on illegal immigration will increase crime in U.S. cities, not reduce it, by driving a wedge between police and immigrant communities, police chiefs from several large cities said yesterday, reports the Washington Post. The law will intimidate crime victims and witnesses who are illegal immigrants and divert police from investigating more serious crimes, chiefs from Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia said before meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder. Chiefs from Phoenix, Tucson, San Jose and Montgomery County, Md., among others, joined them.
“This is not a law that increases public safety. This is a bill that makes it much harder for us to do our jobs,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said. “Crime will go up if this becomes law in Arizona or in any other state.” The National Conference of State Legislatures says four states have introduced their own versions of the Arizona law, which defines illegal immigration as criminal trespassing and requires police to request documents of anyone they stop and have a “reasonable suspicion” is in the country illegally. Public opinion polls indicate that as many as 70 percent of Americans surveyed support such a police requirement.