In a supposed effort "not to be racist" Pittsburgh's police will not check arrestees status to see if the are legal, saying they are "leaving it to the feds". I say Pittsburgh needs to fire their police chief and bring in another Joe Arpaio!
City Police No Longer Enforcing Immigration Laws
Pittsburgh police will no longer be checking immigration statuses or enforcing immigration laws.
Pittsburgh's immigrant community is small, but growing and becoming more visible in neighborhoods like Beechview and Brookline where Gabriel Berumen and his wife, Missy, just opened Las Palmas Groceria, a grocery store.
"Pittsburgh is good. I like the city. I like the community, I like everybody," Gabriel said.
The Berumens are here legally, but some of their customers may not be. Either way, Pittsburgh police say a person's immigration status is no longer their business.
"We want to make sure that we're not terrifying that individual or stepping across that fine line of racial profiling," Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said.
Harper recently issued new guidelines to his officers to no longer check the immigration status of a person and to leave enforcement of immigration laws to federal officers. Harper says police need good relations with the immigrant community and should not be feared.
"It's very important that have communication – a very well-built bridge to all neighborhoods throughout the City of Pittsburgh, " he said. "We don't want to have to go into any neighborhood and not be able to communicate."
University of Pittsburgh Professor David Harris who served on an advisory committee which drew up the new guidelines says they will make police more effective.
"What this does is it keeps Pittsburgh's police focused on fighting crime instead of checking immigration for which they're not really trained and which will alienate the very people they need as allies to fight crime," Harris said.
"I honest to God believe that all local police should be trying to do something to stop illegal immigrants," Rich Stanizzo, a labor leader, said.
He says illegal immigrants are taking American jobs and all law enforcement has a duty to investigate and arrest them.
"When you crossed this border illegally, that was a crime," he said. "So they already have committed a crime whether it be the city, the state, this country. It's a crime. Somebody better start investigating."
Andy Sheehan: "Is that the job of the Pittsburgh Police?"
Stanizzo: "It's the job of every law enforcement officer. It's called a crime."
Stanizzo says not enforcing immigration laws will make Pittsburgh a safe haven for illegals.
"I think we're going to get a bigger influx of illegal immigrants into the area and they'll be taking more jobs off United States citizens," he said.
But in Brookline, most people who spoke with KDKA's Andy Sheehan say the immigrants have been a welcome addition. Missy Berumen says aggressive policing would ultimately hurt the city.
"We shouldn't be suspicious of the people. We should welcome immigration. We should welcome the people from different countries. That's what America's all about," she said.
Pittsburgh Police No Longer Checking Immigration Statuses, Enforcing Immigration Laws - kdka.com