Council considers adopting ACLU rules on police policy toward immigrants
East Lansing City Council entertained the notion of adopting law enforcement rules provided by the American Civil Liberties Union at their Tuesday meeting. The rules dealt with illegal immigration, in an effort to combat what the ACLU calls President “(Donald) Trump’s mass deportation agenda.”
Councilmembers were presented with the ACLU’s “9 ‘model’ state and local law enforcement policies and rules”, which are designed to be implemented as police policy when it comes to interacting with non-U.S. citizens.
During his campaign, President Trump criticized U.S. immigration practices and policies and called for stricter rules as well as heightened deportation of illegal immigrants.
Following Trump’s changes to U.S. practices, CBS 60 Minutes reports, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has arrested 21,000 illegal immigrants. Among them, 5,000 are without criminal records.
Local ACLU activists, worried that Trump’s rhetoric and policies would affect friends and neighbors, met with East Lansing Police Chief Jeff Murphy in weeks prior to ask the department to implement the rules.
Jo McGlew and Derrell Slaughter, who attended the earlier meeting with Murphy, praised his receptiveness to the rules and urged council to adopt them.
“I just really want make sure as you all are discussing these nine policies, that you’re thinking about how this could really send a signal to folks that are really scared out there,” Slaughter said.
Murphy discussed the rules at length with council but made it known practices already in place in the department covered much of what the ACLU proposed.
“When we’re talking about police department policies, those policies are fluid,” Murphy said. “We adjust them as needed, we review them all the time and make changes where needed.”
Murphy also mentioned adopting the policies stemmed from listening to the community, something the police department has done to figure out how to go about enforcing laws.
“I agree with most everything in this 'freedom city', nine model policies, it’s because, I think, I hope, because we’ve listened to the community and we’ve adjusted things in the past and I’m sure we’ll have to adjust things in the future,” Murphy said.
Mayor Mark Meadows questioned Murphy if any of the proposed rules were in opposition to current police procedures to which Murphy responded only rule No. 5 was in opposition.
Murphy said it is current police policy to inquire about citizenship status only because certain countries require mandatory reporting to their respective consulates.
“Some countries, depending on the crime their resident is in our jail for, they will call us back, or at times they’ve sent people here and it's to make sure their resident is okay,” Murphy said.
Inquiring for that purpose, however, appears to be covered by rule No. 5’s provision as it falls under a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
Murphy also made it clear citizens and non-citizens are treated “exactly the same” by officers.
Furthermore, Murphy sought to taper fears that ELPD would be contacting ICE regarding immigrants, saying he had not in his 30 years as an officer come into contact with ICE more than a handful of times.
“The truth of the matter is we’re not immigration officers and we have no reason or authority to investigate immigration,” Murphy said. “Most of our officers wouldn’t even know what to do if they wanted to try to investigate some immigration laws.”
Council could not vote to approve or adopt the rules as it was a discussion-only meeting, but Murphy said the police department has already linked the rules to policies already in place on the ELPD website.
The ACLU's rules are as follows:
No. 1: The Judicial Warrant Rule: East Lansing officials shall require a judicial warrant prior to detaining an individual or in any manner prolonging the detention of an individual at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
No. 2: No Facilitation Rule: East Lansing officials shall not arrest, detain, or transport an individual solely on the basis of an immigration detainer or other administrative document issued by ICE or CBP, without a judicial warrant.
No. 3: Defined Access/Interview Rule: Unless acting pursuant to a court order or a legitimate law enforcement purpose that is unrelated to the enforcement of a civil immigration law, no East Lansing official shall permit ICE or CBP agents access to East Lansing facilities or any person in East Lansing custody for investigative interviews or other investigative purposes.
No. 4: Clear Identification Rule: To the extent ICE or CBP has been granted access to East Lansing facilities, individuals with whom ICE or CBP engages will be notified that they are speaking with ICE or CBP, and ICE or CBP agents shall be required to wear duty jackets and make their badges visible at all times while in East Lansing facilities.
No. 5: Don’t Ask Rule: East Lansing officials shall not inquire into the immigration or citizenship status of an individual, except where the inquiry relates to a legitimate law enforcement purpose that is unrelated to the enforcement of a civil immigration law, or where required by state or federal law to verify eligibility for a benefit, service, or license conditioned on verification of status.
No. 6: Privacy Protection Rule: No East Lansing official shall voluntarily release personally identifiable data or information to ICE or CBP regarding an inmate’s custody status, release date or home address, or information that may be used to ascertain an individual’s religion, ethnicity or race, unless for a law enforcement purpose unrelated to the enforcement of a civil immigration law.
No. 7: Discriminatory Surveillance Prohibition Rule: No East Lansing agency or official shall authorize or engage in the human or technological surveillance of a person or group based solely or primarily upon a person or group’s actual or perceived religion, ethnicity, race or immigration status.
No. 8: Redress Rule: Any person who alleges a violation of this policy may file a written complaint for investigation with the oversight entity for the East Lansing police.
No. 9: Fair and Impartial Policing Rule: No East Lansing official shall interrogate, arrest, detain or take other law enforcement action against an individual based upon that individual’s perceived race, national origin, religion, language or immigration status, unless such personal characteristics have been included in timely, relevant, credible information from a reliable source, linking a specific individual to a particular criminal event/activity.