BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) — A Bucks County community group is protesting a planned move by Bensalem police to participate in a program that would allow officers to search a federal immigration database after someone is arrested for a crime.
It’s known as 287(g), a federal program that offers training to local and state officers to conduct federal immigration checks on people who are suspected to be living in the country illegally – and are arrested for unrelated misdemeanor level crimes.
“That’s the big difference here, people that are committing crimes, not people that are victims of crime, not people that are reporting crimes, not people are in car stops or have a broken taillight or bad inspection on their car, these are people that are arrested for crimes,” Fred Harran, Bensalem director of public safety, said.
Harran says these checks are already done but they have to wait for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to respond. This just streamlines the process.
Activists argue the program will erode trust between the community and law enforcement, but Harran says they work with community have outreach programs to build trust, and he adds this would make those residents safer.