These policies emerged after years of reasonable discussion and debate amongst community groups, local officials, and police and sheriff departments, as hundreds of cities, towns and states grappled with the harm of deportation programs, like the failed Secure Communities (S-Comm) now renamed the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Our communities rightly concluded that local pro-immigrant policies not only protect public safety and constitutional rights—they are integral to fostering diverse and thriving communities.
The scapegoating of immigrant communities and attacks on local pro-immigrant policies and the officials who enacted them reflects a hardening racism and xenophobia in American politics that we must eliminate, not foster. These attacks may score some political points in the short-term but strike against good governance and inclusive democracy.
We call on officials to stand up for human and civil rights and reject ineffective and punitive measures against immigrants, including PEP, a program that dangerously increases federal entanglement with local police. Officials should support the difficult but necessary work of examining and addressing the root causes of violence in our communities.
We call on local, state, and federal officials to work with us to hear solutions about what community safety and welfare really mean for us - beyond more policing, incarceration, and deportation.