AFL-CIO: Federal Government Must Cut Ties with Arizona Law Enforcement
AFL-CIO ^ | May 14, 2010 | James Parks

Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 12:22:16 PM by mdittmar

The AFL-CIO and the nation’s largest civil rights coalition issued a strongly worded call for the Obama administration to sever its ties with law enforcement officials in Arizona or be complicit in the state’s racial-profiling anti-immigrant law, also known as S.B. 1070.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), a coalition of more than 200 organizations, urged the administration to immediately stop cooperating with local law enforcement officials in Arizona.

Writing in Huffington Post today, Sam Stein says the AFL-CIO LCCR letter

is by far the most serious effort to date to make Arizona’s new immigration law untenable for the state. Other groups have urged economic and travel boycotts as a way to target the state government’s tourism revenues. Should [the Department of Homeland Security] adopt the AFL-CIO’s suggestion (and it’s a big question whether the Department will) it would deny the state the type of law enforcement expertise that the immigration law was designed to beef up in the first place.

Click here to read Stein’s entire post.

In the letter, Trumka and Henderson say:

We write to express our deep concern with the Department of Homeland Security’s continued cooperation with state and local law enforcement in Arizona pursuant to Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (”the 287(g) program”) in the aftermath of Arizona’s passage of Senate Bill 1070, and we ask that you immediately rescind all 287(g) program agreements in Arizona.

Read the AFL-CIO LCCR letter here.

Under Section 287(g) agreements, Homeland Security trains members of eight state and local law enforcement agencies in Arizona, including the state police, which allows the officers to enforce immigration laws.

Trumka and Henderson add:

We are grateful that President Obama has spoken out to correctly call the Arizona law “misguided.” However, more than words are required from the federal government at this time. Unless DHS terminates all 287(g) program agreements in Arizona, the federal government will be complicit in the racial profiling that lies at the heart of the Arizona law. Such a result would place the DHS at odds with this Administration’s stated views on SB I070, and at odds with basic American values of tolerance and non-discrimination.