The IACP partnered with the Obama Administration to gather law enforcement leaders together to discuss immigration reform. Yesterday, the first of several “listening tour” meetings was held at the White House and included 35 state and local law enforcement leaders including representatives from the major law enforcement organizations.
IACP President Chief Craig Steckler made opening comments to set the tone for the meeting. He also referenced IACP’s 2007 report, “Police Chiefs Guide to Immigration Issues.” President Steckler expressed the IACP’s continuing support of these discussions to make sure that the voice of law enforcement is clearly heard as immigration legislation or policy reform proceeds. Additionally, IACP Director of Research, John Firman, lead a panel discussion on the state and local law enforcement immigration perspective, including the immigrant community, the impact on law enforcement, concerns and opportunities, relationships with federal agencies and law enforcement roles and responsibilities. Panelists were Sheriff Leroy Baca, Los Angeles County, California; Chief Tom Manger, Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department and; Colonel Tom L’Esperance, Director, Vermont State Police.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano gave keynote remarks and discussed several issues that need to be addressed including securing the border, a pathway to earned citizenship, addressing illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes and ways to improve law enforcement’s relationship with the immigrant community.
Secretary Napolitano and other Administration representatives, including Alan Bersin, DHS Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer; Cecelia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and; Tony West, Acting Associate Attorney General, stated that this initial meeting was the beginning of a dialogue and that they would ensure that law enforcement’s opinions and issues are heard and addressed.