Immigration efforts in Phoenix could change drastically due to new police policy

Posted at 8:06 PM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 11:08:03-04

ABC15 has learned the Phoenix Police Department may be dramatically changing how officers handle encounters with undocumented immigrants, according to a draft police policy document shared with law enforcement and community stakeholders. 

Ken Crane, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, worries about the department's proposed changes, starting with crossing "enforcement" out of the title. 

"It was leading us down the path of sanctuary cities policies, which is something we definitely need to stay away from," Crane said. 

President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities. 

Entire pages of Phoenix's old policy are crossed out in the draft obtained by ABC15. Added in, a requirement for all officers wanting to call ICE federal immigration agents to funnel all requests through a single Phoenix police supervisor.

"They're gonna put so many restrictions on you and so many hoops you've got to jump through that it makes you, just the average street cop, throw up their hands and say, 'Screw it, not even worth it.'"

Phoenix City Council approved a police review of immigration policy in February after rejecting a citizen's request to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city.

Hispanic community leaders met with police policymakers to push for some of the changes. 

"This policy now reaffirms that school resource officers will not ask students or parents on campus for their documentation, for their papers," Puente Executive Director Carlos Garcia said. 

Phoenix police declined an on-camera interview about the draft immigration policy, but a spokesman says there's further review and revision to come to "modernize" the policy.

PLEA claims the changes are likely politically-motivated. 

"We're trying to fix something that ain't broke," Crane said.  

Garcia says the draft policy is a good step, but even more needs to change. 

"As long as police and immigration act together, our community will not trust the police department and will continue to see people being deported, families being separated and more distrust in our community with the police," Garcia said.