Baltimore Top Cop Questions DOJ Immigration Stance

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Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told a top U.S. Department of Justice official this week his suggestion that federal crime-fighting assistance for the city is contingent on local policies for immigrant detainees was “perplexing,” given that the city does not control its jail. Davis also said linking crime assistance to immigration policies is “concerning” and “sends the wrong message” to immigrant communities in Baltimore., the Baltimore Sun reports. “Public safety depends on all communities, regardless of immigration status, having trust in law enforcement,” Davis wrote. “Without this trust, immigrants may be less likely to communicate with the police, report crimes, or seek assistance upon becoming a victim.”

Davis’ comments echoed those he and other city officials made after Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson wrote to Davis about the city’s immigration policies. Hanson asked whether city statutes provide U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials with information on and access to immigrant detainees in the city. He appeared to make Baltimore’s selection as a grant recipient under the Justice Department’s expanding Public Safety Partnership program contingent on such information and access being granted. Davis said he would like DOJ, but believes the immigration policies suggested by Hanson would represent “a step in the wrong direction.”

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