Enforcing Immigration Laws Has No "Chilling Effect" on Police Trust

Sep 12, 2013, 08:16 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

Results in Public Safety and Savings Benefits

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The so-called "chilling effect" immigration enforcement is alleged to have on police trust in immigrant communities is a myth, concludes a new publication from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) presenting a collection of government and academic research.

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The Center finds that many law enforcement leaders believe that robust immigration law enforcement produces significant criminal justice cost savings as well as public safety benefits.  Many of these leaders advocate for local officers to assist and participate in immigration enforcement, and welcome U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a public safety partner agency.  A diverse group of local law enforcement leaders has endorsed the SAFE Act (H.R. 2278), which would mandate better cooperation between ICE and local police agencies and increase and expedite the removal of criminal aliens. 

"Career law enforcement professionals understand that the best way to build trust in the communities that they protect is to enforce all laws in a predictable, fair and non-discriminatory manner, and not to pick and choose based on the demands of grievance groups," says Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at CIS.  "And given the irrefutable connection between illegal immigration and certain crime problems, it is no wonder that local officers feel compelled to participate in immigration enforcement.  In my experience, most local officers want to help ICE, not obstruct them from doing their job."

View the entire publication at: 

Among the points in this new fact sheet:

  • Evidence of a "chilling effect" from immigration enforcement as a result of local-ICE cooperation is non-existent in government data and academic research.  Bureau of Justice Statistics data show no significant differences between ethnic groups on crime reporting.
  • A variety of academic studies finds that language and cultural barriers are the most common reasons immigrants may refrain from reporting crimes. 
  • Local law enforcement agencies that participate in immigration enforcement, whether urban, suburban or rural, report no adverse effects on crime reporting from immigrant communities as a result – no "chilling effect."
  • Currently U.S. counties spend millions each year on incarcerating illegal alien criminals.  Robust immigration enforcement helps reduce those costs significantly.
  • The National Sheriffs Association, representing 20,000 members, takes the position that the federal government should maintain and expand programs that enable local agencies to participate in immigration enforcement.  The organization is "strongly opposed" to amnesty for illegal aliens now living in the United States.

The report includes samples of statements from a variety of sheriffs, police chiefs, and other law enforcement leaders on these issues and on the SAFE Act.

View analysis of the House of Representatives bill, H.R. 2278, at: http://cis.org/SAFE-Act

View the Senate bill, CIS Senate testimony and commentary at:

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization. Since its founding in 1985, the Center has pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.

Contact: Jessica Vaughan
jessicavaughan@verizon.net, 202-466-8185

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies