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Local Law Enforcement Leaders and Anti-Immigration Groups

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Local Law Enforcement Leaders and Anti-Immigration Groups

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:16 am

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While the Trump administration this year has demanded stricter enforcement of immigration laws by local law enforcement, some county sheriffs across the U.S. had already been establishing closer relationships with anti-immigration groups in recent years. Some of the national groups have been offering sheriffs advice, inviting them to "border schools" to hear anti-immigration speakers, producing television advertisements featuring sheriffs and sending at least one sheriff a model ordinance intended to spur local law enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Depending on your politics, that could be seen as disturbing collusion between heavy-handed law enforcers and nativist organizations intent on maintaining a white majority, or an informal flow of information between two groups with a mutual interest in strict enforcement of federal immigration laws. Either way, a new report released Tuesday on the deepening relationship between sheriffs and anti-immigration groups comes at a time of increased focus on immigration issues.

"Nativist groups have recruited county sheriffs to help implement dangerous anti-immigrant policies that split up families, intimidate survivors of violence, and deport people to their deaths," reads a report written by the pro-immigration Center for New Community (CNC). "These are exactly the results that the contemporary anti-immigrant movement has long been seeking, [including] a drastic increase in deportations and attrition through enforcement."

Cultivating relationships with law enforcement officials like county sheriffs has been a goal of anti-immigration groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) for more than a decade. A December 2005 FAIR newsletter stated, "Creating coalitions with police and sheriff 's [sic] departments all across the country to confront the issues posed by mass immigration has been a key FAIR goal for many years," according to the CNC report. After identifying sheriffs who were concerned about illegal immigration, FAIR staff met with them, sent them a steady stream of information, set up regular conference calls and invited them to D.C. to meet with FAIR's senior staff, according to the organization's 2011 annual report.

In following years there was increased cooperation between sheriffs and FAIR, with the creation of an umbrella group called the National Sheriff's Immigration Council and the organization of "border schools," where sheriffs, sometimes traveling at the taxpayers' expense, hear presentations by extremist anti-government speakers, according to the report, "Crossing the Line: U.S. Sheriffs Colluding With the Anti-Immigrant Movement." The sheriffs even visited the headquarters of a border vigilante group in Texas.

Bob Dane, the executive director of FAIR, dismissed the report as "sour grapes" from a "far-left" group that is frustrated the Trump administration is enforcing immigration laws. "[Sheriffs] have sought the expertise of FAIR, and we have sought their perspective," Dane tells Newsweek, characterizing the relationship as symbiotic and transparent. "The common denominator is the rule of law." Local and federal law enforcement officials cooperate when investigating drug-related or violent crimes, and that cooperation should also exist when enforcing federal immigration laws, Dane said. "There's a new sheriff in town, and he's in the White House." On its website, FAIR says its goal is to reduce legal immigration to about 300,000 annually from current levels of over one million people.

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