While there has been a steady push in recent months for comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill, there have been a few steps in the states and in localities to limit the extent that local law enforcement participates in immigration enforcement (which has been seen as a federal duty). One of the reasons why deportations have skyrocketed in the Obama administration has to do with the roll out of the Secure Communities program, which allows for the fingerprints of anyone who has been arrested by local police to be checked against federal immigration databases and flagged for removal. Two years ago, I wrote about my experience witnessing local police involving themselves in immigration in one Southern California city.
One of the main reasons why immigration activists want the local police to be out of the immigration enforcement game is that it compromises trust between community members and the police.
And in New Orleans, the city council has passed a resolution to limit the detaining of immigrants or suspected immigrants in its jails in part because of the cost to house them.
That localities feel the need to lessen involvement in the federal immigration enforcement effort highlights the problems of having local police engage in an activity that has typically been reserved for the feds.