Immigration law enforcement is a job that cops do not want, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank writes in the Huffington Post. “The job of law enforcement is to keep communities safe,” Burbank and two co-authors write. “When legislators require state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration policy, they make it much harder for officers to do their job. Sheriffs and chiefs have long voiced their concerns that asking officers to be immigration agents will scare undocumented community members out of calling on law enforcement for help. The story is even more severe. Police who are required to look for illegal immigrants are going to find fewer drug dealers.”
A Consortium for Police Leadership in Equity report has found that one in three Salt Lake City residents are unwilling to report drug-related crimes when law enforcement can detain someone based on their immigration status. Burbank writes, “Given law enforcement’s history as an effective tool of social oppression, it should not be surprising that many law enforcement officials across the nation are troubled at the proposition of mandatory immigration enforcement practices that appear motivated by prejudice–a point the report also supports–and are likely to result in increased crime….That is why so many in law enforcement are voicing their objection to a change in their jobs that would once again institutionalize racial profiling and biased policing–while depriving the public of their safety.” Burbank wrote the piece with Phillip Atiba Goff and Tracie L. Keesee of the Consortium for Police Leadership in Equity.