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Harsh local policing major cause of higher deportation numbers

In the last four years, the United States has deported a record number of undocumented immigrants. But in different communities throughout the country, these deportations are higher or lower in number. Interestingly, a recent study indicates that having a larger immigrant population does not appear to be the reason certain communities deport more people.

On the contrary, factors such as local politics and police practices seem to be the major causes of higher deportation numbers in some parts of the United States. In fact, police who were surveyed in communities with higher immigrant populations enforce deportation laws on fewer occasions.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Public Administration Research, surveyed police chiefs from 237 medium to large-sized cities across the nation. According to the findings, in communities where there was a Hispanic police chief, deportation laws were not enforced as often.

The research also indicated that places where most voters are Republican, and where police chiefs answer to the city council and the mayor instead of a manager, immigration-related laws were more strictly enforced.

Perhaps most significantly, the study found that "cities with high shares of immigrants in the population tend to experience less aggressive enforcement."

In about half of the cities addressed in the research, there had been no city policy regarding the enforcement of immigration laws. That means those police departments were either coming up with their own guidelines or letting officers on the streets make the decisions.

With such widespread disparity in deportation enforcement, immigrants in Manhattan and Staten Island will need a strong deportation defense. If you would like to learn more about defending against deportation, please stop by our New York immigration law site. Our firm helps immigrants who have been detained or who are facing deportation.

Source: Salon, "What makes a police department touch on immigration?" Natasha Lennard, Nov. 13, 2012

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