Major Cities Chiefs Statement on Immigration
June 8, 2006 -- As president
of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Houston Police Chief Harold
Hurtt announced today the adoption of nine recommendations for
the United States Congress and the President to assist in resolving
the immigration crisis facing America today. Members of the Major
Cities Chiefs Association, comprised of the largest police agencies
in America, are the first responders to over fifty million residents.
We are very concerned that the public policy under consideration
does not take into full account the realities of local law enforcement
in dealing with this issue on the ground. The foundation of the
nine-point position statement is five key concerns with local
police enforcing federal immigration law. These concerns are:
- It undermines the trust and cooperation with
immigrant communities that are essential elements of community
- Local agencies do not possess adequate resources
to enforce these laws in addition to the added responsibility
of homeland security.
- Immigration laws are very complex and the
training required to understand them would significantly detract
from the core mission of the local police to create safe communities.
- Local police do not posses clear authority
to enforce the civil aspects of these laws. If given the authority
the federal government does not have the capacity to handle
the volume of immigration violations that currently exist.
- The lack of clear authority increases the
risk of civil liability for local police and government. Given
these concerns the Major Cities Chiefs are recommending that
Congress and the President adopt the following nine points:
1. Securing the borders must be a top priority.
2. Enforcement of the laws prohibiting the hiring of illegal immigrants.
3. Consulting and involving local police agencies when developing
any immigration initiative is imperative if the initiative is
to involve local agencies.
4. Federal law must not mandate local enforcement of federal law
- all law enforcement initiatives must be completely voluntary.
5. There should be no reduction or shifting of current federal
funding for state and local programs to pay for new immigration
6. Any initiative involving local police agencies should be incentive
7. The authority and limitation of liability for local law enforcement
officers and police agencies must be clear.
8. Civil immigration detainers must be removed from the NCIC system
9. MCC members are united in their commitment to continue arresting
anyone who violates the criminal laws of their jurisdictions regardless
of the immigration status of the perpetrator. Most local police
agencies have adopted policies of not inquiring about immigration
status of individuals that are reporting crimes or in other encounters
unless the person is suspected of committing a crime. Those policies
have developed over the past 25 years because of law enforcement's
commitment to provide protection to everyone within their jurisdiction
and more recently because of state and federal laws prohibiting
racial profiling. In addition, the federal government does not
have the capacity to deal with the estimated 12 million illegal
immigrants in the US today. As Congress and the President wrestle
with these difficult issues it is important that national policy
reflect a clear understanding of the enormous challenges that
local police face in dealing with illegal immigration.
of the MCC nine-point position statement are available here.
information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at