Please support the police-policy warrant article


To the Editor:

Concerning your article of March 30 about the Island-wide warrant articles on community policing (“Is Island-wide warrant article on police policy warranted?”), allow me to add my voice in support of this initiative. To the point raised by some of the Island police chiefs who feel this warrant article is an implied criticism of their departments, and is redundant, it is neither. The warrant article specifically endorses current police practices regarding local police and federal immigration law. And to the point that local chiefs say they have no intention of entering into 287(g) agreements with the federal government, we can be certain there will be pressure from the Justice Department to do so.

Passage of this warrant article will reassure our local law enforcement agencies that they have the support of their constituents in resisting federal overreach. As to the fears of financial reprisals to our communities from Washington, our police departments are carrying out their obligations and responsibilities in a legal and constitutionally protected manner.

All of us who are not 100 percent Native American are descended from immigrants dating back to the 102 undocumented Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth in 1620. We all have ancestors who came to this country to build a new life escaping oppression, poverty, or both. I grew up with tales of night border crossings through the fields of Eastern Europe. Residents of Ireland, fleeing famine, were greeted with storefront signs that read “Irish need not apply.” Let’s not forget the involuntary African immigrants brought to our shores in bondage. Yet each group has added to the coat of many colors that is our unique culture, and has enriched our communities.

This warrant article is an expression of support of, empathy for, and outreach to our more recent immigrant communities. As a nation, we do need a clear, national, comprehensive immigration policy that is fair, just, and equitable, but that is the job of 535 men and women in Washington. Please support this article.

Jim Wallen