SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Police chiefs from Santa Clara County assembled today and spoke in one voice, saying Uncle Sam is on his own when it comes to the undocumented.
The chiefs say they want to fight crime with cooperation form the public, not fear and non-cooperation. The Santa Clara County Police Chief's Association and a group of clergy, called the media in Tuesday to make one issue crystal clear: "Santa Clara County law enforcement agencies have no intention or desire to become the enforcers of Federal immigration law," said Chief David Swing of the Morgan Hill Police and this year's association president.
"We all felt that it would be important and powerful if we all speak in one voice regarding this issue," said Chief Eddie Garcia of the San Jose Police.
The Chiefs are seeing outright deportation fears in many Latino communities as well as other immigrant communities. "We understand that there is fear in certain segments of our community and we are here to assure you that we'll continue to serve and protect in a way that seeks to calm fear and build trust. Public safety is the concern of local law enforcement, not immigration," said Chief Swing.
"What you're hearing today, in one collective voice, is a steadfast commitment in keeping trust with the people we serve," said Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County's District Attorney.
"We will stand together regardless of our denominational differences, our theological difference, we stand hand in hand together," said Father Jon Pedico of the Diocese of San Jose.
Neither the chiefs nor the District Attorney see anything in Federal law or court precedent to require them to enforce Federal immigration laws. "In terms of the Federal government and vivid detainers and enforcing civil immigration law, the Federal government has its own officials and court systems for that," said District Attorney Rosen. "And. to the extent that we can assure our communities that we are not gonna be a deportation force and take part in Federal immigration enforcement, is critical," said San Jose Chief Garcia.
So, with respect to this vast community, the Federal Government has put itself in this situation which will require a lot more enforcement people than it ever has had here.
You can read the entire Santa Clara County Police Chiefs' Association statement here.