Local law enforcement and the community will not participate in Trump deportation plan
Mayors, council members, sheriffs and police chiefs across the country have declared they will not cooperate with President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed plan to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the United States.
Many Park City and Summit County officials have joined that contingent including Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez who says, unless a crime has been committed, his deputies will not be used to enforce federal immigration laws.
On Friday, Martinez stated emphatically, “I will not participate in any sort of roundup. It would tear apart families. It would destroy lives.”
According to Martinez, politicians have tried in the past to deputize local lawmen to carry out federal immigration laws but they ran into strong resistance. He hopes police chiefs and sheriffs will maintain a similar stand if the Trump administration tries the same tack again.
Martinez agrees with those in his profession who say their communities are safer when local lawmen are trusted by all segments of the population. It is important to differentiate those who are undocumented from those who are undocumented that commit crimes, he said, adding his priority is to protect citizens against crimes. He believes his department can do a better job of that when they are not feared.
Unfortunately, the current uncertainty surrounding the change in presidential administrations has caused a “groundswell of fear” in Summit County’s immigrant community and Martinez is anxious to put those fears to rest.
He is not alone. Park City and Summit County Council members have reiterated their commitment that local immigrants will not be heedlessly uprooted.
Park City, especially, has a rich history of weaving immigrants into the fabric of the community. At the turn of the century the mines relied heavily on workers who were seeking refuge from collapsed economies and repressive regimes around the world. Many of today’s construction and service industry workers are here for the same reasons and Park City’s economy would certainly falter without them.
Right now, as Trump selects his staff, it is import to send a strong message that local communities will not cooperate with his misguided deportation plan. And if he persists it will be necessary to take strong measures to protect our immigrant friends, neighbors coworkers and classmates.
Yes, we need immigration reform, but not the kind that will force undocumented residents further into the shadows. We need new rules that will pave a path to citizenship and ensure that those who chose to leave their own countries enjoy the full benefits — and responsibilities — of living in the United States. Most would ask for nothing less.
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