U.S. Conference Of Mayors Opposes Federal Legislation To Undermine "Sanctuary Cities"

Jul 20, 2015, 15:33 ET from The U.S. Conference of Mayors

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On behalf of the nation's mayors, The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran today registered strong opposition to any legislation that would withhold federal law enforcement assistance from so-called "sanctuary cities."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities have sent a joint letter to all members of Congress, available at www.usmayors.org, which reads, in part:

"We believe that decisions related to how law enforcement agencies prioritize their resources, direct their workforce, and define the duties of their employees must reside with local government leadership. This includes defining the role of local police officers in the context of enforcing federal immigration laws. It is our strong belief that effective policing cannot be achieved by forcing an unwanted role upon the police by threat of sanctions or withholding of law enforcement assistance funding as has been proposed."

The letter then concludes:  "Shifting the federal responsibility of enforcing civil immigration law to state and local governments diverts critical resources from their law enforcement agencies, compromises public safety, and hinders local police department efforts to work with immigrant communities in preventing and solving crimes. Immigration enforcement laws and practices must be nationally based, consistent, and fully funded by the federal government. Immigration is a federal, not a state or local, responsibility. We urge you not to take precipitous action that will have a negative impact on law enforcement agencies and public safety across the nation."

"The Conference of Mayors has long believed that it's up to mayors and their police departments to determine police involvement in enforcing federal immigration laws.  At a time when they are working hard to strengthen police-community relations and build trust, legislative proposals to withdraw funding from programs that help them accomplish that are particularly troubling," said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.

For years, the Conference's position has been that it is up to mayors and their police departments to determine if the police will be involved in enforcing federal immigration laws, particular civil immigration laws.  Last year, the organization sent a bipartisan letter to Congress signed by more than 150 mayors expressing the same sentiment.   

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

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SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors