Local Government Cooperation with Federal Immigration Enforcement Efforts
Report by FAIR's State & Local Department | October 2014 | View the Full Report (PDF)
Cooperation Protects Citizens Against Crime
The responsibility of governments to their citizens includes the administration of justice — both to prevent crime and to punish lawbreakers. Americans are facing a new threat to their physical safety from international terrorism. Al Qaeda, which was responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 residents on September 11, 2001, remains avowedly committed to carrying out further crimes against Americans at home and abroad. The federal government has the responsibility for combating this threat, but its capability to do so depends on the cooperation of law enforcement agencies at all levels. Similarly, the capability of federal immigration authorities to stem immigration law violations and to apprehend and remove lawbreakers requires the cooperation of state and local law enforcement agencies.
Failure to cooperate with federal immigration authorities undermines national security efforts and enables terrorists and individuals of national security concern to go unnoticed and carry out their activities unimpeded by immigration law. Reportedly, over half of the 48 individuals convicted or tied to recent terrorist plots in the United States either were themselves illegal aliens or relied upon illegal aliens to get fake IDs. Immigration violators participated in the first attack on the World Trade Center, the Los Angeles Millennium bombing plot, the New York subway bombing conspiracy, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has just 20,000 employees, only half of which are dedicated to the apprehension and removal of illegal aliens. The cooperation of state and local police forces, which number about 800,000 strong, is vital to ferreting out those among us who wish to cause us harm. At least five of the 9/11 hijackers were illegal aliens, of which four — ringleader and pilot Mohammed Atta, pilot Hani Hanjour, pilot Ziad Jarrah, and muscle Nawaf al-hazmi — came into contact with state and local law enforcement several times before the attacks for various reasons. If those state and local law enforcement agencies had been working with federal immigration officials, the 9/11 terrorist plot might have been thwarted.
Furthermore, local communities that cooperate with and assist the federal government in its immigration enforcement efforts see a dramatic decrease in illegal immigration and crime. For example, after Arizona got tough on illegal immigration and instituted policies of cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State experienced a significant decrease in violent crime. Likewise, Prince William County, Virginia experienced a reduction in violent crime (and hit-and-run accidents) after instituting a policy of cooperation with DHS.