The American Immigrant Policy Portal

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Arranged in order of publication date with the most recent on top. Scroll down for all entries. Although potentially useful, these resources are not necessarily endorsed by Diversity Dynamics.
Effective policing requires the trust and cooperation of  local immigrant communities. To build that trust, police must work to bridge the language and cultural barriers that often separate diverse communities. These reports discuss efforts to build effective policing programs within immigrant communities, as well as the role of local police in immigration enforcement.

Constitution on Ice:  A Report on Immigration Home Raid Operations,
Immigration Justice Clinic, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, 2009, 38 pp
Utilizing records on ICE operations in the New York and New Jersey area obtained under Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, this study is described by the authors as "the first public document to collect and analyze the available evidence regarding the prevalence of constitutional violations occurring during ICE home raids."  Despite the goal of apprehending "high priority targets," e.g. immigrant gang members and sex offenders, approximately two-thirds of arrests made under these operations are "collateral arrests of mere civil immigration status violators." The authors are particularly sensitive to the impact of these efforts on local community policing efforts, suggesting that "ICE home raid misconduct...undermines the traditional crime fighting mission of local law enforcement agencies."  The report contains a series of policy recommendations developed with assistance from a six-member advisory panel chaired by Lawrence W. Mulvey, Chairman of the Nassau County Police Department in New York.

The Role of Local Police:  Striking a Balance Between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties,
The Police Foundation, April, 2009, 256 pp.
This year-long, groundbreaking study attempts to "give police a voice on (the) critical issue" of the proper role of local police in immigration law enforcement. Based on focus groups with police officers around the country, the input of academic experts, a survey of police officials, and a two-day conference in Washington, DC, in August, of 2008, this report concludes that the "the costs of the 287(g) program outweigh the benefits." The study, however, goes beyond the controversial 287(g) program to examine the full range of collaboration between local police and federal immigration officials, including the practice of checking the immigration status of noncitizens arrested for criminal violations, and the embedding of ICE personnel within local police departments. The study finds that police officials are often subjected to intense political pressure to "do something" about undocumented immigration, even when their understanding of the issues differs substantially from majority opinion in the community. The report concludes with seven overarching recommendations, and features a series of important studies that are included as appendices to the report, including an analysis of the rates of crime and imprisonment associated with immigration and a study of the problems faced by undocumented youth transitioning to adulthood and lacking legal work opportunities.

Crossing the Line: Damaging Immigration Enforcement Practices by New Jersey Police Following Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3,
The Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall University School of Law, April 2009, 31 pp
Over a nine-month period, this report documents 68 instances of New Jersey police referrals to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), when only a minor offense or no offense was charged. These cases are broken down into four categories: traffic stops, passengers in cars, stopping people on the street, and questioning of victims or witnesses. Noting the possibility of a serious undercount of such referrals, and the frequency with which Latinos were targeted, the authors see "a disturbing trend toward racial profiling by New Jersey police."  The report recommends that the Attorney General directive, which attempted to set ground rules for police reporting to ICE, "should be repealed or fundamentally revised."

Bridging the Language Divide:  Promising Practices for Law Enforcement,
Vera Institute of Justice, February, 2009, 64 pp.
With funding provided by the federal COPS office, Vera undertook a comprehensive study of how local law enforcement agencies in the Unites States are addressing language barriers. Contacting more than 750 agencies, evaluating practices from nearly 200, and doing in-depth analyses of 25, Vera singled out six police jurisdictions doing exemplary work: Boise, Las Vegas, Lexington, Nashville, Oklahoma City, and Storm Lake.  The report shows how their techniques illustrate eight promising practices in achieving effective language outreach.  The report contains extensive appendices with sample agency documents and resources.

Webinar: Bridging the Language Divide:  Promising Practices for Law Enforcement, Vera Institute of Justice, February 24, 2009

Representatives from three police agencies in communities of varying sizes (Boise, Idaho; Lexington, Kentucky; and Storm Lake, Iowa), identified by Vera as leaders in the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, discuss their respective approaches:  a Spanish language immersion program for police officers in Lexington, the development of a community-wide interpreter bank in Boise; and the hiring of civilian bilingual outreach workers in Storm Lake.

Immigration Enforcement:  Better Controls Needed over Program Authorizing State and Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws, General Accounting Office, January, 2009, 44 pp.
In response to a congressional request to review the 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement entities to enter into agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to participate in the enforcement of immigration laws, the GAO undertook a performance audit of the program from September 2007 through January 2009.  The GAO reviewed 29 of the 67 local law enforcement agencies participating in the program. The audit found major shortcomings in the management of the program, including lax oversight and lack of clarity over program goals.  Rather than ferreting out criminal activity -- the ostensible purpose of the program -- 287(g) seems to be targeting individuals with minor violations, such as traffic infractions. The GAO report concludes with five recommendations to improve the operation of the program.

The Need to Reconsider Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2007-3, New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, October, 2008, 26 pp.
On August 23, 2007, NJ Attorney General Anne Milgramt released a directive to local law enforcement agencies in New Jersey desisgned to "establish the manner in which (they) shall interact with federal immigration authorities."  This report argues that the directive has undermined community policing, opened the door to abuses of local police authority, and compromised protections against domestic violence. The report asks for major revisions in the directive to correct these problems.

Monitoring the Police: Opening the Process to the Public, A Look at Monmouth County, Latino Leadership Alliance of NJ (Monmouth Chapter), National Latino Peace Officers Association (NJ Chapter) and the Hispanic Directors Association of NJ, June, 2008, 8 pp.
This report discusses the disposition of 705 citizen complaints against police departments in Monmouth County for the period 2001 to 2007. Most departments were not in compliance with state reporting requirements and failed to discipline or prosecute at reasonable rates.  The report identifies departments showing best and worst practices, and concludes with ten recommendations to make the police monitoring process more transparent and effective, with some attention to police relations with immigrant communities.

Police Chiefs Guide to Immigration Issues, International Association of Chiefs of Police, July, 2007, 47pp.
This publication is a useful primer on immigration issues for police leaders in the United States. It covers issues as wide-ranging as day laborers, housing, anti-immigrant groups, and human trafficking. Although the report refrains from issuing recommendations, especially on the subject of police participation in immigration enforcement, it provides a useful framework for local decision-making on immigrant-related issues. .

Overcoming Language Barriers: Solutions for Law Enforcement, Vera Institute of Justice, March, 2007, 20 pp.
With immigration in the U.S. growing and increasingly dispersed, many law enforcement practitioners are looking for ways to improve contact with people who cannot speak or understand English well. This report is the work of Translating Justice, a technical assistance project involving Vera's Center on Immigration and Justice and three diverse law enforcement agencies-the Anaheim Police Department in California, the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in Nevada.

Attorneys General and the Protection of Immigrant Communities, National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, Memorandum, January 12, 2007, 11 pp.
This document argues that immigrants are "particularly exposed to predatory practices, abuse, and fraud" and that state attorneys general must focus their attention on this growing and often vulnerable population. It gives examples of successful initiatives around the country and details strategies that may be employed in the "emerging field" of immigrant protection services.

Nine Point Position Statement: Enforcement of Immigration Laws by Local Police Agencies, Major Cities Chiefs Association, June, 2006, 11 pp.
Representing 57 police jurisdictions in the United States and Canada with populations of over 1.5 million, the Major Chiefs Associations produced this consensus position statement on the question of local police enforcement of immigration laws. The statement enumerates several concerns with such a broadening of local police power, including that of undermining the trust and cooperation of immigrant communities, and the diversion of police resources away from normal police functions.

Justice and Safety in America's Immigrant Communities, Princeton University, Policy Research Institute for the Region, 2006, 104 pp.
The report contains summaries and conclusions from a series of three, all-day sessions devoted to the topic of improving relations between police and immigrant communities. The project was conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the Vera Institute of Justice.

Building Strong Police-Immigrant Community Relations:  Lessons from a New York City Project, Vera Institute of Justice, August, 2005, 33 pp.
This report provides an account of a project in 2003-2004 to create a "regular forum for communication between police and immigrant communities," focusing on the Arab-American, African, and emerging Latin-American communities. The report discusses outreach strategies, session content, and recommendations for institutionalizing the initiative.

Forcing Our Blues into Gray Areas:  Local Police and Federal Immigration Enforcement, A Legal Guide for Advocates, Appleseed, 2005, 34 pp.
This report outlines the legal history behind local law enforcement of federal immigration laws and argues that such expansion of local police authority makes fighting crime and terrorism more difficult.

News and Opinion
Police-Community Relations

Freeholders Vote to End Housing Immigrant Detainees in Middlesex County Jail,
The Star-Ledger, October 1, 2009
Police (Camden, NJ) to Address Fears.
Courier Post, August 31, 2009

Immigration Law (287(g) Lacks Purpose,
Editorial, Star-Ledger, August 3, 2009

Morristown Could Scrap Deputizing Cops as Immigration Agents,
Daily Record, July 25, 2009

Skokie Review, July 22, 2009 
East Boston Police Reach out to Immigrants, Boston Globe, May 18, 2009