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Are States Training Law Enforcement to Implement Restrictive Immigration Laws?

Released on Fri, Jun 24, 2011

Washington, D.C. - While many states legislatures rejected Arizona-style immigration laws this year in anticipation of high costs, legal challenges and charges of racial profiling, others states—like Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina—passed laws requiring law enforcement to determine the immigration status of anyone that is stopped or detained for any offense. Civil rights groups have sued in Georgia and Alabama and plan to challenge South Carolina’s law once the bill is signed. Federal courts found similar laws in Arizona and Utah unconstitutional and issued injunctions, baring law enforcement from implementing the laws. 

With lawsuits pending, however, local officials are now in a position of having to prepare for possible implementation of immigration laws. Local law enforcement, for example, is struggling to interpret the laws and provide training to officers—a struggle which could be further complicated if courts allow only some parts of the law to go forward.  In some cases, training is simply not taking place. Officials in Georgia are waiting for a judge’s ruling before training officers on the law, slated to take effect July 1st. Which begs the question, how, if at all, are law enforcement officers being trained in other states where similar laws have passed?

In a report released by the Immigration Policy Center, Enforcing Arizona's SB 1070: A State of Confusion, journalist Jeffrey Kaye examines Arizona’s implementation plans after SB 1070 passed.  Kaye reveals that "instead of 'statewide and uniform practices' as directed by the governor, Arizona police agencies have developed a patchwork of guidelines based on varying interpretations of the law." Kaye's reporting includes interviews with police officials, who cite concerns with implementing the new law, and a review of training materials that suggest the implementation state immigration laws "will be burdensome, costly, and distort priorities."

To read the full report see:

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For more information contact Seth Hoy at 202-507-7509 or shoy@immcouncil.org

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