Limiting cooperation between California’s local law enforcement and federal immigration officials is one step towards establishing “firewalls” between immigration enforcement and public services, including the local police. When their rights are threatened or a crime has been committed, every resident should feel confident that contacting the police will not result in retaliation. For undocumented migrants or migrants with a precarious status, this means that calling the police will not lead to detention or deportation. It should be clear that the local police has a mission to accomplish: “to serve and protect”. This mission requires the trust of the population, and it should not be compromised because a sizeable portion of the population will be too scared to call them, even when egregious violations of rights are committed. ICE has also a mission to accomplish and we hope that its agents are well trained, including in how to protect the human rights of the people they arrest. However, ICE does not need to enlist all other agencies to accomplish its mission. Considering that the vast majority of undocumented migrants have committed no crime (crossing the border irregularly or overstaying a visa is an administrative offence but not a crime), the mission of ICE to enforce immigration laws is certainly not more important than the mission of the police to serve and protect every one against crime and violence.
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