The police department of San Jose, California, recently announced it will end a partnership with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
After seeing a record 14 gang-related homicides during the first half of the year, the San Jose Police Department contacted federal law enforcement authorities last June, according to the Silicon Valley Mercury News. Two ICE agents joined an elite 38 member SJDP squad to crack down on the city’s gangs.
The collaboration was successful. No homicides have been reported since June 14, and the special unit has made more than 315 arrests, according to police chief Chris Moore. However, the cops’ partnership with immigration enforcement agents has created tension with San Jose’s Latino community.
Immigrant rights groups and other Latino advocacy organizations have said the presence of ICE agents has had a chilling effect on crime reporting. One woman was afraid to report a beating because she feared police would check her citizenship status as part of the federal Secure Communities program, and other Latinos have reported being racially profiled and harrassed, the Mercury News reports.
The SJDP dissolved its ICE partnership during the same week immigration authorities began dismissing deportation cases pursuant to new guidelines announced by President Barack Obama.