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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Can't get enough of that immigration!

Here's yet another story on Governor Pawlenty's immigration proposals, this time from the point of view of the police officers who would be dealing with them on the ground. There is a divide, but it's not the ideological divide that I would have expected. Instead, officers in large cities like Minneapolis, where there are a lot of immigrants, are against it, while in smaller rural locations, police officers would like the extra help.

I can see how this might be the case. In a smaller town where there isn't yet a whole lot of diversity, the issue of building community trust with the police isn't as large an issue, since there already is a great deal of trust: the police know everybody, and everybody knows the police. To the extent that there are problems, such as language differences or an influx of fake IDs, these departments would probably appreciate the help (although I don't know exactly how helpful the governor's proposals would be, especially in terms of resources and dollars). On the other hand, in a city like Minneapolis, with a large immigrant population that is constantly turning over, it's harder to build a relationship with your "neighborhood cop." Thus, anything that would throw up more barriers between the police and residents is harmful.

I think it is accurate to say that some of the governor's proposals have more support than others. It will be interesting to see how the chips fall.


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