“SAFE” Act in the House could be dangerous for immigration reform

The SAFE Act, which was proposed in the House of Representatives today, could increase racial profiling laws across the nation.

It’s an anti-immigrant bill that would put the power of immigration enforcement with local law enforcement. This allows them to determine who can be deported and detained.

It’s something that’s been done in the past at the state level, especially in Alabama and Arizona. And it hasn’t worked before.

What it does do is encourage racial profiling. We’ve seen it happen before in dozens of cases, where innocent individuals are held in violation of the Constitution simply because local law enforcement is suspicious of their legal status.

Nevermind the fact that, whether a person is undocumented or not, they are still subject to protection under the Constitution while on U.S. soil.

Enacting the SAFE Act would increase distrust between the immigrant community and law enforcement. It would foster an environment where immigrants wouldn’t feel safe going to the police for help, thus encouraging their victimization

A letter to Congress, signed by organizations ranging from the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association to law enforcement officials from states such as Illionois, Maryland, Texas and Washington, said the following: “The SAFE Act would radically alter the nature of federal immigration enforcement by vesting enforcement decisions in the hands of state and local law enforcement officials where it does not belong. Immigration is a solely federal policy and it demands a national solution.”

In California, the TRUST Act was recently signed into law, which directly opposes that which the SAFE Act stands for. The TRUST Act does not allow local law enforcement to transfer people to U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement for anything less than major crimes.

Let’s hope other states follow California’s lead and that the House realizes that cooperation, not victimization, is the key.