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Friday, November 2, 2012

Berkeley Police to Disregard Immigration Status

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

click to enlarge immigrantsmarch_thumb_400x264.jpg
The Berkeley City Council broke ranks with the federal government this week, ordering their police department not to participate in immigration policing.

The council, bowing to demands from the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, voted to instruct its Police Department to ignore the immigration status of anyone it comes in contact with.

This move brings them shoulder to shoulder with Santa Clara County which, almost a year ago, ordered its Sheriff's Department not to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention requests.

"This diverse grassroots coalition more or less forced this on the council," says Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. "That's the kind of process that is replicatable anywhere else in this country."

They're concerned that the time and effort police officers spend fighting the federal immigration battle takes time away from what they should be doing, keeping the community safe, says Shahid.

I.C.E. isn't too pleased about all this.

"The identification and removal of criminal offenders and other public safety threats is U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) highest enforcement priority," says Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for ICE, in a statement. "The federal government alone sets these priorities and places detainers on individuals arrested on criminal charges to ensure that dangerous criminal aliens and other priority individuals are not released from prisons and jails into our communities."

We'll keep you updated on this federal government versus city government fight as it progresses.

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