When local police cooperate with ICE, Latino communities under-report crime. Here's the data.

By Reva Dhingra, Mitchell Killborn, Olivia Woldemikael, Washington Post |

On his first day in office, President Biden immediately began to roll back many Trump administration policies that had restricted immigration and targeted the approximately 10.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. That included issuing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations, which was immediately challenged in court, and revoking Trump’s Executive Order No. 13768, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”

Originally issued just days after Trump assumed office in 2017, E.O. 13768 had expanded the criteria for deportation and also expanded cooperation between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement.

But did it actually “enhance public safety,” as its title would have it?

All this varies by whether local governments cooperate with ICE. We used data from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), which maps which localities cooperate with ICE. We found that in counties that did not cooperate with ICE, crime reporting didn’t drop the way it did in counties actively cooperating with ICE.

This too is consistent with work from other scholars, such as Ricardo D. Martínez-Schuldt and Daniel E. Martínez’s recent article and Loren Collingwood and Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien’s 2019 book. Both find that sanctuary policies make Latino communities more willing to report crime — while immigration enforcement cooperation with police reduces willingness to report. Rather than promoting public health and safety, therefore, active cooperation between local authorities and ICE only further marginalizes both undocumented immigrants and their communities.

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