The American Immigrant Policy Portal

Law Enforcement

Civic Participation
Cultural and Linguistic Competency
Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration
Immigrant Employment and Labor Issues
Education (Pre-K to 12)
Adult Education and Workforce Training
Immigrant Communities
Intergroup Relations
Law Enforcement
Local Government
State Government
State-Specific Studies
National Perspectives/ Immigration Policy
Global Perspectives
About Us

Items arranged in order of publication date beginning with the most recent. Scroll down for all entries. Selection does not necessarily imply endorsement of findings or research methodology by Diversity Dynamics and its partner organizations. We regret that we may not be able to repair broken links promptly.

Effective policing requires the trust and cooperation of  immigrant communities. To build such a relationship, police must work to bridge the language and cultural barriers that often create suspicion and misunderstanding. These studies discuss effective policy and procedure in working with immigrant communities, as well as the role of local police in immigration enforcement.

Inclusive Immigrant Justice: Racial Animus and the Origins of Crime-Based Deportation,
New York University School of Law, Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper, Working Paper No. 17-40, November, 2017, 20 pp.
Author: Alina Das
The merger of immigration and criminal law has transformed both systems, amplifying the flaws in each. In critiquing this merger, most scholarly accounts begin with legislative changes in the 1980s and 1990s that vastly expanded criminal grounds of deportation and eliminated many forms of discretionary relief. As a result of these changes, immigrant communities have experienced skyrocketing rates of detention and deportation, with a disparate impact on people of color. Despite increasing awareness of the harshness of the modern system, however, many people still view criminal records as a relatively neutral mechanism for identifying immigrants as priorities for detention and deportation. Drawing on the early history of crime-based deportation, this essay argues that criminal records have never been a neutral means for prioritizing immigrants for detention and deportation from the United States. Rather, as this essay sets forth, racial animus has driven the creation and development of crime-based deportation from the beginning.

Evaluation of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project:  Assessing the Impact of Legal Representation on Family and Community Unity,
Vera Institute of Justice, November, 2017, 68 pp.
Authors: Jennifer Stave et al
The right to be represented by legal counsel is a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but not for immigrants in deportation proceedings. Two-thirds of detained immigrants face such proceedings without an attorney, and suffer as a consequence. Unrepresented immigrants at the Varick Street Immigration Court in New York, for example, stand only a four percent chance of remaining in the country. Aware of this situation, the New York City Council began the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) to provide universal representation to immigrants in deportation proceedings who are below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. This study examines the NYIFUP from 2013 to 2016 using data from interviews, NYIFUP program records, and other sources including the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review to compare NYIFUP case outcomes to similar cases in other cities. According to the report, NYIFUP won 48 percent of detained immigrants' cases (meaning that immigrants were allowed to remain in the U.S), representing a 1,100 percent increase in successful outcomes over unrepresented cases. NYIFUP also nearly doubled the rate at which immigrants could be released from detention on bond from 25 percent to 49 percent. Even if the case is ultimately unsuccessful, release on bond allows immigrants to care for their families, work and contribute to tax revenue while their cases are adjudicated. As a result, NYIFUP was able to preserve family unity for many of its clients. The authors conclude that ensuring due process so "everyone is entitled to the same opportunity to access the law" through universal representation is a powerful achievement of the NYIFUP. (Yuki Wiland from The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

Immigration Equity's Last Stand: Sanctuaries & Legitimacy in an Era of Mass Immigration Enforcement,
Social Science Research Network, October 21, 2017, 64 pp.
Author: Jason A. Cade
When Congress in the mid-nineties removed the immigration court system from any role in reviewing deportation orders, it unintentionally created a vacuum in the justice system filled by the sanctuary movement. In this article, Professor Jason A. Cade of the University of Georgia Law School argues that when immigration agents, rather than adjudicators, took over responsibility for whom to target for deportation and how to remove them, the immigration system lost the ability to calibrate decision-making in individual situations, such as when otherwise law-abiding immigrants with family responsibilities are targeted for deportation.  Although sometimes "messy and contested," the attention to equity and justice has now moved "upstream," where local police officers, state prosecutors, and other local actors are intervening to ensure the proper administration of justice. Rather than viewing their actions as legal obstructions, it would be more accurate to describe them as "engines furthering legal norms in the face of the executive branch's mass, indiscriminate enforcement policy and less-than-faithful execution of the full body of our immigration law."  The author discusses in detail the actions of cities, churches, and campuses and suggests that these actions are on "solid legal footing to weather challenges from the federal and state officials who oppose them."

Understanding "Sanctuary Cities,"
Boston College Law Review, forthcoming 2018, 62 pp.
Authors:  Christopher N. Lasch et al
Produced by a group of law professors interested in the intersection of immigration enforcement and criminal law, this article asserts that "sanctuary" jurisdictions are following policies "informed by sound legal principles and considered policy judgments about how local resources should be used." The "Trump administration's reliance on white nationalist themes" and the false characterization of "sanctuary cities" as propagating immigrant crime have also raised concerns about discriminatory intent in the administration of immigration law and have forced local authorities to articulate their rationale for refraining from participating in immigration enforcement. The authors describe the "crosshatched shield" of policies designed to maintain the integrity of local law enforcement, including barring the investigation of civil or criminal immigration violations, limiting compliance with immigration detainers, limiting the disclosure of sensitive information, precluding participation in joint operations with the federal government, and preventing immigration agents from accessing local jails. The article then discusses the rationale for non-cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, including the constitutional separation of powers, lack of federal reimbursement for the cost of immigration enforcement and the need to shepherd local resources wisely, worries over the erosion of trust necessary for positive interaction between the police and local community members, concern that cooperation with detainer requests would lead to violations of the Fourth Amendment, and avoiding practices that might lead to racially-based profiling. As a complement to this article, the authors have created a public online library of all the sanctuary policies cited in the article and reviewed in their research.The Absurdity of Crime-Based Deportation
UC Davis Law Review, 50:2067 (2017), 81 pp.
Author: Kari E. Hong
On what grounds should an immigrant be deported? In The Absurdity of Crime Based Deportation, Kari Hong argues that the current crime-based deportation policies, derived from the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA ) and the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), should be discontinued. Hong examines the circumstances under which ACCA and IIRIRA were implemented and the impact of judicial decisions related to these acts. She concludes that they are inherently arbitrary and sweeping in their impact, as they do not differentiate between major and minor crimes. AACA and IIRIRA then result in collateral consequences of harsher sentences and potential (or actual) deportation.  Overall, Hong contends that ACCA and IIRIRA are overly broad in scope, inefficient and expensive. They fail to sort dangerous from non-dangerous immigrants, and impose penalties that are not fitting for the crime. If one enters a criminal database, whether as a rapist or a mother driving her children to school without a driver's license, the immigrant is treated the same way.  Crimes, she argues, "do not effectively serve as proxies for character." Moreover, IIRIRA "fails to recognize expungements, commuted sentences, vacated sentences, and other extraordinary relief - including some pardons  -- that states have given to those worthy of second chances." Hong cites two recent Supreme Court cases: Descamps v. United States and Mathis v. United States as practical examples of how to appropriately manage deportation. Instead of crime-based deportation, Hong calls for a return to an immigration policy that allows for individual assessments before applying the penalty of deportation and differentiates between contributing and non-contributing immigrants. (Sakura Tomizawa for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

Local Immigration Enforcement and Arrests of the Hispanic Population,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:3 (2017), 21 pp.
Author:  Michael Coon
The enforcement of immigration in the United States has traditionally fallen under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Over time, however, state and local law enforcement have taken a larger role in immigration enforcement, largely at the urging of the federal government. Federal programs such as the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), the Secure Communities program and the 287(g) program are all designed to help local agencies identify members of immigrant communities for detention and deportation. This study explores the effects of implementation of the 287(g) program in Frederick County, Maryland. Using data from individual arrest records from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, which has a 287(g) agreement with ICE, and the Frederick Police Department, which does not, the study analyzed the changes in arrests between the two agencies before and after the 287(g) program was implemented in 2008. The author found that overall the arrests of Hispanics fell, suggesting that the Hispanic community avoided interaction with law enforcement when the program began. However, the program also led to a significantly higher number of arrests of Hispanics by the Sheriff's Office than would have occurred in its absence, indicating that attention was focused toward the Hispanic community as a result of the program. These results suggest that, if the program is to continue, additional safeguards are needed to prevent abuses and civil rights violations. (Jonathan Eizyk for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

Sanctuary Networks
Social Science Research Network. September 18, 2017, 60 pp.
Authors:  Pratheepan Gulasekaram & Rose Cuison Villazor
In response to heightened immigration enforcement by the federal government, immigrant rights advocates have supported the development of “sanctuary” policies, which have been introduced in many communities and attracted a great deal of media attention. This study defines sanctuary as a range of policies adopted by public and private entities that seek to deliberately limit participation in federal immigration enforcement. The authors summarize the history of the sanctuary movement, explore how concepts of sanctuary have evolved in the context of “hyper-enforcement” of immigration laws, and show that collective effort from private and public institutions “can calibrate federal enforcement policy and instantiate a competing immigration enforcement regime.”  Local and state authorities, religious organizations, universities, and private companies often form a decentralized network to shield undocumented individuals from federal immigration enforcement using legal and social mechanisms. For example, local law enforcement agencies often refuse to enforce immigration policies on behalf of the federal government. These acts of noncooperation by local police have resulted in debate over the role of states’ rights in federal immigration enforcement and the constitutionality of the executive branch’s ability to remove funding from sanctuary cities. Churches and religious organizations, often legally protected by religious freedom of expression and private property laws, can provide accommodations and protections to undocumented immigrants.  This article finds that these layered networks of actors have a profound impact on immigration enforcement since they ultimately “decenter the federal government as the sole locus and source of enforcement policy.” It explores the ways in which these entities shape norms even in “anti-sanctuary” communities, such as through increasing the cost of immigration enforcement to overcome community resistance (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute).

Criminal Immigrants: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin,
Cato Institute, March 15, 2017, 7 pp.
Author: Michelangelo Landgrave & Alex Nowrasteh
This paper uses the U.S. Census's 2014 American Community Survey data to determine incarceration rates of immigrants aged 18 to 54 compared to the native-born. The researchers use common statistical methods to estimate the number incarcerated foreign-born individuals who are undocumented immigrants. They find that legal immigrants, with an incarceration rate of 0.47 percent, are 69 percent less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born, with an incarceration rate of 1.53 percent. Undocumented immigrants, with an incarceration rate of 0.85 percent, are 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born. But subtracting undocumented immigrants incarcerated for immigration violations brings their incarceration rate to 0.5 percent. The paper includes tables with demographic characteristics. This paper reaches similar conclusions to other research conducted over the past 100 years on immigrants and crime: immigrants are less prone to criminal activity than the native born. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates

"Sanctuary" Policies: An Overview
American Immigration Council, Fact Sheet, February 23, 2017, 5 pp.
Although there is no one definition of "sanctuary policies," they cover a variety of laws or guidelines that limit the participation of state or local governments in federal immigration law enforcement. This brief from the American Immigration Council clarifies what jurisdictions with sanctuary policies can and cannot do, without running afoul of federal law or compromising their law enforcement function. For example, sanctuary cities or states can share information with ICE-such as sending fingerprints from police databases-but cannot stop residents from being deported by ICE. Sanctuary jurisdictions can (but are not required to) honor detainer requests from ICE in order to arrange pick up, but they cannot require their police departments to ask residents about their immigration status. In no way do sanctuary policies limit the ability of police to enforce all criminal laws against immigrants who commit crimes. The brief also notes that sanctuary policies comply with federal law, referencing a 2016 finding by the U.S. Department of Justice that no state or locality with sanctuary policies had violated federal statute. The benefits of sanctuary policies, the brief suggests, include lower rates of crime, poverty and unemployment. (Deb D'Anastasio for The ILC Public Education Institute)

The Negative Consequences of Entangling Local Policing and Immigration Enforcement,
Center for American Progress, March 21, 2017
Authors: Danyelle Solomon, Tom Jawetz, & Sanam Malik
This paper briefly discusses the costs that local jurisdictions may incur if, in the face of threats by the Trump administration, they adopt policies to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement. Having local police enforce immigration laws will damage relations between law enforcement and immigrant communities; such a development runs counter to good community policing practice. The agreements between the federal government and local enforcement agencies (known as 287(g) agreements) have proven to be expensive for jurisdictions to implement. Not only are there increased personnel and other costs associated with helping the federal government enforce immigration laws, but some agencies have been sued for racial profiling. By contrast, jurisdictions that have policies limiting their cooperation with federal immigration agents have lower crime rates and enjoy lower risk from unlawful detention litigation. Ultimately, the administration's threats to punish "sanctuary" jurisdictions may be hollow, as they may not withstand legal challenges. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

A Path to Public Safety: The Legal Questions around Immigration Detainers,
National Immigration Forum, Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, 2017, 19 pp.
Author: Laurence Benenson 
In recent years, there has been a heated debate on the cooperation between the federal government and local jurisdictions on immigration enforcement. Local jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement have come under attack from the Trump administration and some members of Congress. Much of the conflict revolves around federal immigration detainers-requests from the federal government to detain individuals suspected of being in the United States unlawfully. This paper presents a thorough examination of the legal issues related to immigration detainers. It reviews the 10th amendment's "anti-commandeering" constraints on the federal government's ability to compel local jurisdictions to honor immigration detainers. The Constitution's fourth amendment prohibits the government from depriving a person of liberty without probably cause, and a local jurisdiction that holds a person beyond his or her scheduled release from prison may be held liable. Finally, there is a question as to whether immigration detainers are even legal under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Given the legal context of immigration detainers, the paper concludes by noting that states and localities have elected not to honor detainers because federal law makes clear that honoring detainers without a warrant or probable cause is illegal in most situations (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates). 

Immigration and Public Safety
The Sentencing Project, March, 2017, 16 pp.
Authors: Nazgol Ghandnoosh & Josh Rovner
According to the authors of this report, the impact of immigration on crime rates in the United States is a "well-examined field of study" which has produced "a rigorous body of research."  After reviewing this research, they find that President Donald Trump "has made demonstrably false claims associating immigrants with criminality." The report covers research bearing upon three issues:  immigrant crime rates compared to native-born individuals, the relationship between rising immigration and falling crime rates in local communities, and incarceration rates in federal and state prisons. In the first area, the authors focus on adolescent and undocumented criminality, citing studies showing that "foreign-born youth...had among the lowest delinquency rates when compared to their peers" and that "immigrants - regardless of legal status - do not have higher crime rates than native-born citizens."  In the second area, the authors reference several studies that find a connection between increases in immigration and decreases in crime rates in cities and metropolitan areas, including one study that found a similar inverse relationship at the neighborhood level in Chicago. Finally, the authors disaggregate the U.S. prison population to explain the over-representation of non-citizens in the federal system, and their underrepresentation in the state. Although non-citizens are slightly underrepresented in U.S. prisons as a whole, they are greatly underrepresented in state prisons, where non-citizens make up only four percent of the population (of the 1.5 million people imprisoned in state and federal prisons, 87 percent are held in state institutions).  Within federal prisons, however, 22 percent are non-citizens, largely resulting from the criminalization of immigration violations since 2000 (66 percent of all federal sentences imposed in 2015 were for immigration violations).  The authors conclude that "false statements about immigrant criminality contribute to unfounded public fears that threaten the safety of immigrants and U.S. citizens."

Urban crime rates and the changing face of immigration: Evidence across four decades,
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 15:1 (2017), 25 pp.
Authors: Robert Adelman et al
(copy of paper only available only to journal subscribers)
Although research has consistently shown that immigrants have lower crime rates than the native-born population, testing for possible "indirect" effects on crime rates, e.g. by leading native-born Americans affected by job displacement to turn to lives of crime, has been minimal. This study attempts to remedy this gap in research. The authors investigate the immigration-crime relationship within 200 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) over a 40-year time period from 1970 to 2010.  By pushing the time frame back to 1970 (the horizon for most recent studies is much shorter), this research has the advantage of including periods of both economic stress and expansion. The study examines rates (per 100,000 people) of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and larceny at five points in time (1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010).  The results show that "the presence of immigrants consistently helped to decrease violent and property crime in U.S. metropolitan areas" and thus suggestions that immigrants contribute to crime through "structural" or "macro-level" mechanisms are unfounded.  The paper also contains a useful summary of research to date on the question of immigration and crime.

The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy,
Center for American Progress, January 26, 2017, 17 pp.
Author: Tom K. Wong

In one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump issued an executive order that would, among other things punish "sanctuary jurisdictions." The order included a directive to the Secretary of Homeland Security to put out reports to "better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions." Do "sanctuary jurisdictions" threaten public safety? This report from the Center for American Progress compares crime rates in "nonsanctuary" verses "sanctuary" counties-defined in this report as counties that do not honor requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold an immigrant beyond his or her release date. The report finds "that there are, on average, 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties-a result that is highly statistically significant." The report also looks at a number of economic indicators, comparing "sanctuary" verses "nonsanctuary" counties. It finds that in "sanctuary" counties median household income is higher, poverty is lower, use of public assistance is lower, the labor force participation rate is higher and unemployment is lower. It may be hard to say that the better outcomes experienced by "sanctuary" counties are because of their policies keeping law enforcement and immigration enforcement separate. But it is clear from the report that there is no evidence to show that there are greater "public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions." (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Policing Sex, Policing Immigrants: What  Crimmigration's Past Can Tell Us About Its Present And Its Future,
California Law Review, Forthcoming, 2016, 53 pp.
Author: Rachel E. Rosenbloom
Most people assume that efforts to involve local police departments in immigration enforcement date back to the 80s and 90s. This paper documents a "lost chapter" in the history of this relationship -- the pipeline that led to the deportation of gay immigrants in the fifties. The author devotes much attention to a landmark 1963 Supreme Court case Rosenberg v. Fleuti . Her analysis owes much to her success in accessing Fleuti's 1600-page government file through a Freedom of Information Act request.  The paper also examines early 20th century precedents for collaboration between the criminal justice system and immigration enforcement, including contacts with prison officials concerned about the potential for released alien prisoners to become public charges and the "crusade against sex trafficking" which began with the passage of the Mann Act in 1910.  The author sees parallels between the "overpolicing" of today, often referred to as "broken windows" policing, which disproportionately targets residents of minority communities, and programs that promote police-immigration cooperation, which also target underprivileged immigrant communities.

Uniting Communities Post-9/11: Tactics for Cultivating Community Policing Partnerships with Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities,
Vera Institute of Justice, 2015, 67 pp.
Authors: Pradine Saint-Fort & Susan Shah
This field guide addresses a topic that the authors believe may not have received sufficient attention in law enforcement circles, i.e. how to develop partnerships with, and improve community policing in, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. The guide draws on the experiences of law enforcement personnel and community members in three localities with sizable AMEMSA populations:  Piscataway, New Jersey; Anaheim, California; and Cleveland, Ohio. The authors identify three major problems interfering with effective policing in these communities:  the lack of liaison between the police and the community, the underreporting of crime, and the underdeveloped organizational capacity in local law enforcement agencies.  The researchers then discuss nine major tactics for addressing these problems, Including creating a liaison position, partnering with Faith leaders, setting up community advisory councils, investigating every incident that might be a bias crime and publicizing this effort, providing language services, and integrating Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLOs) into the community policing framework. The production of this report was supported under a cooperative agreement with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, US Department of Justice.
The Protective Influence of Neighborhood Immigration on Violence is Strongest in Cities that are More Open to Immigrants,
London School of Economics, American Politics and Policy, Blog, October 15, 2014, 4 pp.
Authors:  Christopher J. Lyons, Maria B. Vélez, and Wayne A. Santoro

This article is based on a paper entitled "Neighborhood Immigration, Violence, and City-Level Immigrant Political Opportunities," which appeared in the June 17, 2013, edition of the American Sociological Review. Although research has repeatedly shown that neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrants have less violence and crime than might otherwise be expected, this paper attempts to quantify the effect of "open cities" on levels of violence and crime. "Open cities" are defined as cities with immigrant representation in elected offices and law enforcement; pro-immigrant legislation, such as "sanctuary cities"; and a large proportion of Democratic voters. The researchers find a strong association between such factors and safe communities. They come to the following conclusion:  "Contrary to public opinion and political rhetoric, our research joins a chorus of others in suggesting that immigrants can make us safer. However, the ability of immigration to translate into less violence partly depends on the social and political climates of immigrant reception."

Estimating the Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Local Policing and Crime: Evidence from the Secure Communities Program,
Social Science Research Network, December 2, 2013, 51 pp.
Authors:  Elina Treyger, Aaron Chalfin, & Charles Loeffler
In 2008 the federal government developed "Secure Communities" to strengthen interior immigration enforcement. The aim of this program is to enhance public safety by bolstering efforts to identify and deport criminal aliens. Secure Communities mandates local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to forward arrestee information, in the form of biometrics, i.e. fingerprints, to federal immigration officials at the time of booking. This protocol enables federal agents to verify the immigration status of every apprehended individual. There are opposing views regarding the impact of the program on communities and individuals. Supporters maintain that it improves community safety by identifying and deporting immigrants committing violent crimes. Opponents argue that the program has grave consequences, such as: encouraging police profiling, creating mistrust of local law enforcement among immigrant communities (leading to decreased crime reporting), and stigmatizing immigrants by associating them with crime. The researchers used the staggered activation dates of Secure Communities across counties to examine whether the program had a detectable effect on crime rates or the arrest behavior of local police. Their findings showed no detectable impact on crime rates, but also no discernible increase in arbitrary or discriminatory policing practices The authors conclude "that the addition of Secure Communities into the existing mix of programs and policies that involve sub-national LEAs in the enterprise (of immigration enforcement)  does not appear as consequential as promised or feared."
(Jade Flora-Holmquist)

Ethical Advocacy for Immigrant Survivors of Family Crisis,
Family Court Review, October, 2012, 11 pp
Author: Theo Liebmann
This article is a primer for family court lawyers on forms of immigration relief dependent on decisions by family court judges, including relief for abused youth under Special Immigrant Juvenile status, benefits for victims of domestic violence available under the Violence Against Women Act, and the U Visa available to victims of human trafficking. While family court proceedings can lead to harsh outcomes for certain immigrants, including deportations and termination of parental rights, they can also bring benefits. The author of this article asserts that "ethical mandates related to client counseling, representational goals, and competence affirmatively require family court practitioners to provide advice and advocacy related to these collateral benefits to family court proceedings."   Unfortunately, there is evidence that there is "inconsistent" adherence to these mandates. As immigration issues increasingly permeate family court proceedings, lawyers must provide counseling and advocacy related to these opportunities.

Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities: Promising Practices from the Field,
Vera Institute of Justice, October, 2012, 62 pp,
This report concludes a  two-year, government-funded study of effective policing practices within immigrant communities, described as the "new frontier of community policing." The report was commissioned "because very little (was) known about how most of the 18,000 police agencies nationwide work with immigrant communities." The report identifies 8 key principles of good practice: (1) get to the root causes, (2) maximize resources, (3) leverage partnerships, (4)focus on the vulnerable, (5) engage in broad outreach, (6) train law enforcement and the community, (7) monitor successes and failures, and (8) sustain programs that work.  To identify practices that exemplify these principles, Vera solicited input from more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies and evaluated practices from 175 of them.  The report profiles 10 law enforcement agencies that have put these principles into action through effective and innovative programs, namely Brooklyn Center (MN), Brooklyn Park (MN), Chelsea (MA), Clearwater (FL), Everett (MA), Metropolitan Nashville (TN), Orange County (FL), Palm Beach County (FL), Storm Lake (IA), and Tulsa (OK). A companion Toolkit contains resources gathered from the 10 profiled agencies, such as "police academy" schedules, outreach materials in foreign language, multicultural advisory committee materials, police training curricula, and various policies and procedures. In addition, there are 8 podcasts on pertinent topics by officials in the profiled agencies.

The Paradox of Law Enforcement in Immigrant Communities: Does Tough Immigration Enforcement Undermine Public Safety?
Columbia Law School, October 4, 2011, 31 pp.
Based on a telephone survey of 1,653 immigrants in New York City, stratified by neighborhood location, socio-economic characteristics, and ethnicity, this study examines perceptions of the criminal justice system within immigrant communities.  The findings indicate that cooperation with the police is higher in immigrant neighborhoods than in neighborhoods with a preponderance of native-born residents.  Despite negative experiences with the police in their home countries, "legal cynicism" tends to be lower in immigrant neighborhoods than in native-born ones. However, ethnic heterogeneity within a particular neighborhood is negatively associated with trust in law enforcement because "a resident may fear retaliation or retribution if he or she helps the police solve a crime committed by a member of another group." The authors conclude with a discussion about how this surprising "normative compliance" with the law could be undercut by "harsh enforcement" of immigration laws.

Insecure Communities: How an Immigration Enforcement Program Encourages Battered Women to Stay Silent,
Boston College Third World Law Journal, 2011, 32 pp.
This article argues that the Secure Communities Program of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deters immigrant victims of domestic violence from reporting abuse to the police. According to the author, many immigrants have a "police-averse mentality" to begin with; others are reluctant to report domestic violence to protect the reputation of the larger family; and still others may feel constrained by an inability to communicate effectively in English. An undocumented woman with a documented husband is especially vulnerable to abuse.  The author recommends a three-step reform to reduce underreporting and protect battered spouses: delay reporting to ICE until the perpetrator is convicted; limit the reporting requirement to felony charges and misdemeanor convictions; and work with states and local authorities to publicize these changes within immigrant communities.

Public Safety Programs for the Immigrant Community: 17 Good Practices in U.S. Cities,
National League of Cities, Center for Research & Innovation, 2011, 46 pp.

This report provides short descriptions of model police outreach programs to immigrant populations in 17 U.S. cities of diverse size and location, including contacts for additional information.  Examples include the "Newcomer Meet and Greets and Living Room Dialogues" of the Portland Police Department, the "Cambodian Community Liaison" of the Lowell (MA) Police Department, the Latino and Asian Liaison Units of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, and soccer matches between police and community members in Newport News and Norfolk, Virginia.  The report includes recommendations for developing immigrant public safety programs in other cities.

Police and Immigration: How Chiefs Are Leading their Communities through the Challenges,
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), 2010, 72 pp
In the swirl of political cross-currents on the issue of immigration enforcement, the judgments of police professionals often diverge from the opinions of politicians and pressure groups. This report examines how six police departments are dealing with one of the most contentious issues in American life.  During 2009, PERF researchers prepared case studies on the following police jurisdictions:  New Haven (CT), Prince William County (VA), Montgomery County (MD), Phoenix (AZ), Mesa (AZ), and Minneapolis (MN). PERF also convened a National Summit on Immigration Enforcement in Phoenix in July, 2009, which helped to inform the conclusions in the report. With separate chapters devoted to each of the six jurisdictions, the report highlights "lessons learned" in each community and "guiding principles for dealing with immigration issues."  A concluding chapter includes a set of recommendations for Congress and the Obama administration, as well as a separate set of recommendations for local police agencies.

Assessing the Terrorist Threat
National Security Preparedness Group, Bipartisan Policy Center, September 10, 2010, 43 pp.
Co-chaired by former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, the National Security Preparedness Group seeks to monitor progress in implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and to provide new analyses and policy recommendations based on changing security needs.  This report provides an overview of Jihadist activity in 2009 in the United States and around the world and notes with alarm that Al-Qaeda and its allies "have been able to accomplish the unthinkable - establishing at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization, and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad."  The authors note, however, that would-be American jihadists "do not fit any particular ethnic, economic, educational, or social profile."  Indeed, "diversification" of the recruitment effort seems to be part of the Al-Qaeda strategy.  Thirty percent of the 57 Americans who have been charged or convicted of Islamic terrorism crimes since January of 2009 are Caucasian or African-American.  At the same time, there has been a considerable weakening of the operational and strategic capacity of Al-Qaeda and allied terrorist groups around the world. The authors conclude by observing that Americans must maintain "resilience" in the face of future attacks, which may be low-level in nature. "If any attack can succeed in generating significant political and economic fallout, then there is a greater motivation for undertaking these attacks."

The Performance of 287(g) Agreements,
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, March, 2010. 87 pp. including appendices
Pursuant to legislation passed by Congress in 2009, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) was asked to review the operation of 287(g) programs to ensure consistency with legislative intent, proper supervision and training of local law enforcement officers, and compliance with memoranda of agreement between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and local authorities.  As of June of 2009, DHS had 66 active agreements in 23 states involving 833 active officers.  In FY 2008, these officers identified 33,831 aliens removed from the U.S. during that year, representing 9.5% of all DHS removals. The OIG report, however, faults DHS for not adhering to its stated intent of using the 287(g) program to arrest, detain, and remove criminal aliens. Other management shortcomings are also detailed. The appendices include a copy of DHS's response to the 33 recommendations contained in the OIG report.

A Program in Flux:  New Priorities and Implementation Challenges for 287(g),
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2010, 30 pp.
In July of 2009, the Director of Homeland Security announced major changes to the 287(g) program, which permits state, county and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigrant law, under negotiated agreements with the federal government. The purpose of the changes was to target enforcement activities on immigrants convicted of serious offenses or deemed a threat to public safety, not those guilty of misdemeanors or immigration violations, and to give the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) greater control over the enforcement operations of local jurisdictions. This report compares the pre-2009 agreements with the new agreement, and identifies a series of questions that will guide researchers, as they undertake an in-depth field study involving six to nine jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements. The study will assess whether the program "advances its goals of promoting security, improving immigration enforcement, and protecting civil rights."

Fact Sheets:  Language Access Problems among Government Bodies,
Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law, February, 2010.
Prepared on behalf of the National Language Access Advocates Network ("N-LAAN"), these fact sheets find serious shortcomings in how the Department of Justice enforces compliance with Title VI requirements for language access to federally-funded programs. The four reports cover state court systems, law enforcement agencies, immigrant courts, and other federal executive agencies.

"We Want to Know What They Are Saying" A Multiagency Collaborative Effort to Address Parental Language Barriers and Disproportionate Minority Contact,"
Vera Institute of Justice, November, 2009, 10 pp.
This report describes the approach and accomplishments of a multiagency collaborative work group striving to facilitate the participation of limited English proficient parents in the juvenile and criminal justice system in New York City. The initiative was designed to address the problem of disproportionate minority contact (DMC), or the over-representation of African American and Latino youth in detention or correctional facilities. After conducting focus groups in English, Spanish, and Chinese with ca 75 parents and young adults, the work group produced a 12-page multilingual informational resource in plain language for distribution to community members. The resource is entitled, "Understanding the Maze:  If Your Child has Contact with the Law."

Constitution on Ice:  A Report on Immigration Home Raid Operations
Immigration Justice Clinic, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, 2009, 38 pp
Utilizing records on ICE operations in the New York and New Jersey area obtained under Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, this study is described by the authors as "the first public document to collect and analyze the available evidence regarding the prevalence of constitutional violations occurring during ICE home raids."  Despite the goal of apprehending "high priority targets," e.g. immigrant gang members and sex offenders, approximately two-thirds of arrests made under these operations are "collateral arrests of mere civil immigration status violators." The authors are particularly sensitive to the impact of these efforts on local community policing efforts, suggesting that "ICE home raid misconduct...undermines the traditional crime fighting mission of local law enforcement agencies."  The report contains a series of policy recommendations developed with assistance from a six-member advisory panel chaired by Lawrence W. Mulvey, Chairman of the Nassau County Police Department in New York.

The Role of Local Police:  Striking a Balance Between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties,
The Police Foundation, April, 2009, 256 pp.
This year-long, groundbreaking study attempts to "give police a voice on (the) critical issue" of the proper role of local police in immigration law enforcement. Based on focus groups with police officers around the country, the input of academic experts, a survey of police officials, and a two-day conference in Washington, DC, in August, of 2008, this report concludes that the "the costs of the 287(g) program outweigh the benefits." The study, however, goes beyond the controversial 287(g) program to examine the full range of collaboration between local police and federal immigration officials, including the practice of checking the immigration status of noncitizens arrested for criminal violations, and the embedding of ICE personnel within local police departments. The study finds that police officials are often subjected to intense political pressure to "do something" about undocumented immigration, even when their understanding of the issues differs substantially from majority opinion in the community. The report concludes with seven overarching recommendations, and features a series of important studies that are included as appendices to the report, including an analysis of the rates of crime and imprisonment associated with immigration and a study of the problems faced by undocumented youth transitioning to adulthood and lacking legal work opportunities.

Crossing the Line: Damaging Immigration Enforcement Practices by New Jersey Police Following Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3,
The Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall University School of Law, April 2009, 31 pp
Over a nine-month period, this report documents 68 instances of New Jersey police referrals to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), when only a minor offense or no offense was charged. These cases are broken down into four categories: traffic stops, passengers in cars, stopping people on the street, and questioning of victims or witnesses. Noting the possibility of a serious undercount of such referrals, and the frequency with which Latinos were targeted, the authors see "a disturbing trend toward racial profiling by New Jersey police."  The report recommends that the Attorney General directive, which attempted to set ground rules for police reporting to ICE, "should be repealed or fundamentally revised."

Bridging the Language Divide:  Promising Practices for Law Enforcement,
Vera Institute of Justice, February, 2009, 64 pp.
With funding provided by the federal COPS office, Vera undertook a comprehensive study of how local law enforcement agencies in the Unites States are addressing language barriers. Contacting more than 750 agencies, evaluating practices from nearly 200, and doing in-depth analyses of 25, Vera singled out six police jurisdictions doing exemplary work: Boise, Las Vegas, Lexington, Nashville, Oklahoma City, and Storm Lake.  The report shows how their techniques illustrate eight promising practices in achieving effective language outreach.  The report contains extensive appendices with sample agency documents and resources.

Webinar: Bridging the Language Divide:  Promising Practices for Law Enforcement,
Vera Institute of Justice, February 24, 2009

Representatives from three police agencies in communities of varying sizes (Boise, Idaho; Lexington, Kentucky; and Storm Lake, Iowa), identified by Vera as leaders in the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, discuss their respective approaches:  a Spanish language immersion program for police officers in Lexington, the development of a community-wide interpreter bank in Boise; and the hiring of civilian bilingual outreach workers in Storm Lake.

Immigration Enforcement:  Better Controls Needed over Program Authorizing State and Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws,
General Accounting Office, January, 2009, 44 pp.
In response to a congressional request to review the 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement entities to enter into agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to participate in the enforcement of immigration laws, the GAO undertook a performance audit of the program from September 2007 through January 2009.  The GAO reviewed 29 of the 67 local law enforcement agencies participating in the program. The audit found major shortcomings in the management of the program, including lax oversight and lack of clarity over program goals.  Rather than ferreting out criminal activity -- the ostensible purpose of the program -- 287(g) seems to be targeting individuals with minor violations, such as traffic infractions. The GAO report concludes with five recommendations to improve the operation of the program.

Monitoring the Police: Opening the Process to the Public, A Look at Monmouth County,
Latino Leadership Alliance of NJ (Monmouth Chapter), National Latino Peace Officers Association (NJ Chapter) and the Hispanic Directors Association of NJ, June, 2008, 8 pp.
This report discusses the disposition of 705 citizen complaints against police departments in Monmouth County for the period 2001 to 2007. Most departments were not in compliance with state reporting requirements and failed to discipline or prosecute at reasonable rates.  The report identifies departments showing best and worst practices, and concludes with ten recommendations to make the police monitoring process more transparent and effective, with some attention to police relations with immigrant communities.

Language of Inclusion: A Critical Look at Equal Access in the N.J. Court System,
American Friends Service Committee, Immigrant Rights Program, Summer, 2007, 14 pp.
Over the course of three summers (2005-2007), AFSC analyzed the extent of language access in small claims courts in the five NJ counties with heavy immigrant populations.  The study found that immigrants were generally unaware of their right to free language services, key court documents were not translated into foreign language, and that language services were generally not provided in pre-trial settings. The study highlighted best practices in several vicinages and provided a set of recommendations to improve access, including better training for court personnel and more effective use of county ombudsmen.

Police Chiefs Guide to Immigration Issues,
International Association of Chiefs of Police, July, 2007, 47pp.
This publication is a useful primer on immigration issues for police leaders in the United States. It covers issues as wide-ranging as day laborers, housing, anti-immigrant groups, and human trafficking. Although the report refrains from issuing recommendations, especially on the subject of police participation in immigration enforcement, it provides a useful framework for local decision-making on immigrant-related issues.

Overcoming Language Barriers: Solutions for Law Enforcement
Vera Institute of Justice, March, 2007, 17 pp.
With immigration in the U.S. growing and increasingly dispersed, many law enforcement practitioners are looking for ways to improve contact with people who cannot speak or understand English well. This report was produced by Translating Justice, a technical assistance project sponsored by the Vera Institute's Center on Immigration and Justice and three diverse law enforcement agencies-the Anaheim Police Department in California, the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in Nevada.

Attorneys General and the Protection of Immigrant Communities,
National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, Memorandum, January 12, 2007, 11 pp.
This document argues that immigrants are "particularly exposed to predatory practices, abuse, and fraud" and that state attorneys general must focus their attention on this growing and often vulnerable population. It gives examples of successful initiatives around the country and details strategies that may be employed in the "emerging field" of immigrant protection services.

Nine Point Position Statement: Enforcement of Immigration Laws by Local Police Agencies,
Major Cities Chiefs Association, June, 2006, 11 pp.
Representing 57 police jurisdictions in the United States and Canada with populations of over 1.5 million, the Major Chiefs Associations produced this consensus position statement on the question of local police enforcement of immigration laws. The statement enumerates several concerns with such a broadening of local police power, including that of undermining the trust and cooperation of immigrant communities, and the diversion of police resources away from normal police functions.

Justice and Safety in America's Immigrant Communities,
Princeton University, Policy Research Institute for the Region, 2006, 104 pp.
The report contains summaries and conclusions from a series of three, all-day sessions devoted to the topic of improving relations between police and immigrant communities. The project was conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the Vera Institute of Justice.

Translating Justice:  A Guide for New York City's Justice and Public Safety Agencies to Improve Access for Residents with Limited English Proficiency,
Vera Institute of Justice, April, 2006, 27 pp.
This guide provides an overview of language access needs and promising practices within New York City's justice agencies. The guide also describes innovative approaches elsewhere in the country and overseas. The core of the report consists of an analysis of various approaches, including the use of bilingual employees, professional interpreters, and emerging technology. The guide concludes with suggested "next steps."

Building Strong Police-Immigrant Community Relations:  Lessons from a New York City Project,
Vera Institute of Justice, August, 2005, 33 pp.
This report provides an account of a project in 2003-2004 to create a "regular forum for communication between police and immigrant communities," focusing on the Arab-American, African, and emerging Latin-American communities. The report discusses outreach strategies, session content, and recommendations for institutionalizing the initiative.

Equal Justice, Unequal Access:  Immigrants and America's Legal System, Recommendations for Action and Collaboration,
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, 2005, 43 pp.
The combined effect of language barriers that prevent immigrants from seeking civil legal assisstance and the lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate and accessible services creates the need for comprehensive reform in order to produce a more user-friendly and efficient system. This report contains broad recommendations and proposes specific action steps to achieve this goal.

Forcing Our Blues into Gray Areas:  Local Police and Federal Immigration Enforcement, A Legal Guide for Advocates,
Appleseed, 2005, 34 pp.
This report outlines the legal history behind local law enforcement of federal immigration laws and argues that such expansion of local police authority makes fighting crime and terrorism more difficult.


Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Policing and the Justice System

News and Opinion
Cultural and Linguistic Competence 
in policing and the justice system

The Hub, January 22, 2015

Language Barriers Continue to Thwart Victims of Crime (New York City)
The New York Times, May 12, 2014

Summit addresses African immigrant concerns,
Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette, July 9, 2012