/ Modified feb 27, 2017 1:46 p.m.

Assistant TPD Chief: Let Immigration Experts Enforce Laws

It's too much of a burden on local departments, Leavitt says.

Tucson Police Cars Parked Tucson Police Department cars.
AZPM Staff

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Police and immigration experts are pushing back on the Trump administration’s policy of asking local law enforcement to make decisions on a person’s immigration status.

Assistant Chief John Leavitt Assistant Tucson Police Chief John Leavitt. (PHOTO: Courtesy Tucson Police Department)

Immigration policies are taking up too much time for local police departments, according to Assistant Tucson Police Chief John Leavitt.

“Training change, new policy change, training again, supervising training, supervising how to supervise new policy change,” Leavitt said, listing some of the burdens that come along with such a policy.

And now, said Captain Leavitt, the Trump administration wants local law enforcement not only to know when to call in immigration officers, but also to make decisions in the field about citizenship and detaining people if officers suspect they are in the country illegally.

“Police officers don’t want to be involved in this kind of enforcement,” Leavitt said, adding that it is not what they are trained for.

“The years of experience that people in Border Patrol and ICE get, combined with ongoing constant training, makes them experts at this. We are not experts and we don’t want to be involved in doing that kind of work.”

He said that police officers all over the country are pushing back on the issue.

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