Hispanic Caucus wants Napolitano to cut ties with Arizona police

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) have called on the Department of Homeland Security to sever its ties with Arizona police in response to the state's new immigration enforcement law.

Calling Arizona's recently-enacted law requiring police to question and verify the citizenship of anyone they reasonably suspect to be an illegal immigrant "appaling," three leaders of the Hispanic Caucus wrote Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to demand the termination of its immigration-enforcement partnerships with law enforcement entities in the state.

“The federal government should not be an accessory to the unconstitutional actions of the Arizona state government,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “By continuing to work with Arizona police departments operating under SB 1070, the Department is implicitly condoning the shameful tactics authorized by the new law."

Roybal-Allard was joined in signing the letter by CHC Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Immigration Task Force Chairman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).

"While we applaud your recent statement opposing the new law, we ask that the Department of Homeland Security immediately suspend its 287(g) and Secure Communities programs in Arizona," the letter states.

The 287(g) and Secure Communities programs are database-sharing agreements that give local law enforcement agencies instant access to federal immigration databases. According to information provided by Roybal-Allard's office, DHS currently has a total of 13 such agreements with jurisdictions throughout Arizona.

DHS has maintained that it is studying the civil rights implications of the Arizona law, which will inform the government's actions going forward.