PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department is considering policy changes that would limit when and where a person’s immigration status applies to local police work.
The revised immigration-enforcement policy would bar officers from asking a crime victim or witness about their immigration status.
It also would prohibit school-resource officers from contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement while on school grounds, according to a draft version of the policy.
The policy amendments would not change how police interact with a suspect, regardless of immigration status. All arrested individuals have their immigration status verified by the federal government before they’re released, under Arizona law.
The union representing Phoenix police officers says the proposed changes look to fix something that’s not broken and would leave officers hamstrung in certain investigations, The Arizona Republic reported (http://bit.ly/2sM6ndk ).
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona says it would like to see further safeguards against biased policing in even more situations.
Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard said the policy still is being reviewed and revised but declined to discuss which portions would be identified for future amendments.
“We sought the input of community leaders and organizations and are in the process of modernizing our existing policy regarding immigration,” he said.
The proposals come amid a national conversation on immigration and policing, reignited by President Donald Trump and his executive orders that allow local police to take a more aggressive role in identifying people who do not have legal status.
The draft revisions come as a result of recommendations from a Phoenix City Council subcommittee formed by Mayor Greg Stanton in February after Trump signed the order.