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KC-MO Police Chief Weighs in on Immigration

By Sylvia Maria Gross

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Missouri Police Chief Jim Corwin says that police involvement in immigration enforcement would damage their ability to fight crime. Corwin told the Missouri Special Committee on Immigration Reform yesterday that the department is trying to build trust within immigrant communities. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.


Corwin told the committee that if the police began enforcing immigration law, it would have a catastrophic effect on their ability to fight crime. He said they do not have the resources to detain illegal immigrants, and such an approach could lead to racial profiling. Corwin cited the decline in crime on Kansas City's West Side after the police helped establish a center for immigrant day laborers.

CORWIN: We can work with the community and have a quality of life that people enjoy through problem solving efforts other than coming in as an occupying force and sweeping and arresting.

But UMKC law professor Kris Kobach said new immigration enforcement policies would not require officers to question everybody.

KOBACH: The bill could say, any time you write a traffic offense, ask the individual his alien status. Any time you make an arrest for any other reason, ask the person his alien status.

More than a dozen people testified to the committee, which will continue holding similar sessions around the state. Sylvia Maria Gross, KCUR News.

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