I saw a report on the news last night that talked about a round-up of 50 foreign-born sexual predators by the US Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency (ICE) as part of Operation Predator. All were charged with sex crimes and most will deported. While I do not have any sympathy for sex offenders and predators, it got me thinking that the collaboration between ICE and local police departments might not be a good thing for two reasons.
First, I think this type of emphasis by local law enforcement of specifically pursuing aliens, both legal and illegal, creates the very distinct possibility that our local, state and federal laws will be disproportionately applied to aliens and not enforced will equal fervor when it comes to Americans. Our laws should be applied to all residents equally with no regard to citizenship. A child predator is just as dangerous if he is a white American man or a hispanic Honduran man. ICE Director of Investigations Marcy Forman states that “Predators stalk and attack the most vulnerable segments of society, our children. Predators commit unspeakable acts that often do irreparable harm and rob the innocent of their innocence. Left on the streets predators can victimize communities time and time again. Today, we stopped these predators in their tracks, and the public safety of New York City is better off for it.” I do not disagree with her view of predators, but I do wonder if the amount of energy spent by "the special agents and officers from the New York ICE office from ICE’s Office of Detention and Removal Operations, the Federal Protective Service and the New York City Department of Probation" on this round-up of aliens made our streets safer than if that same amount of energy had been expended on rounding up predators regardless of citizen status.
Second, I think that having our local law enforcement become immigration efforts leaves us all less safe because they are not focusing on local law enforcement. Non-citizen VICTIMS of crimes will not report the crimes committed against them for fear of being deported. Important trust between immigrant communities and local police will deteriorate and negatively impact community policing initiatives. Vital resources including time, manpower and equipment are diverted from local police priorities to making immigration arrests. While Homeland Security will benefit from these arrangements, our local communities will not.
I know this is a bit extreme, and its not like I am calling them the Gestapo or the Schutzstaffel, but when I read about Operation Community Shield and other Homeland Security initiatives I get mental images of skull and crossbones and lightening bolts.