Mayor John Dickert wants to make it as clear as possible: The City of Racine will not actively pursue undocumented immigrants. The focus of the Racine Police Department will be to find and arrest those who break the law. It is not against state or city law to be undocumented.
“The diversity of Racine’s population is one of its greatest strengths,” says Dickert. “The job of mayors is to protect our residents. Mine is no different. I will continue to protect our diversity by protecting our residents – all our residents.”
Given the recent actions of President Trump and Congress, the U.S Conference of Mayors (USCM) called for a legal review of those actions as regards to immigrants. The review found that there is no legal authority for such actions. The legal opinion concludes that federal legislation or administrative policy seeking to direct local or state governments to take part in immigration enforcement would face significant challenges under current interpretations of the Tenth Amendment and Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Copies of the Constitution are available at the Racine Public Library and on-line at www.constitutionus.com .
Issues of constitutionality aside, trust in all of city government and the police department is critical in the work of law enforcement. “Our police department works hard to build and preserve trust with all of the communities they serve, including immigrant communities. Immigrants residing in Racine must be able to trust both the PD and city government,” concludes Mayor Dickert. The USCM will be bringing together mayors, police chiefs and the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General to discuss all these issues and develop an approach to immigration enforcement that does not interfere with strong police-community relations or place inappropriate burdens on local police officers, and upholds our nation’s immigration laws.
Dickert is quick to say, “If you engage in illegal or criminal activity, the police will find and arrest you. If you are like 99% of our residents, no matter who you are or where you were born, in the City of Racine, the police will not stop you solely on suspicion of immigration status. Taking the long view, with the exception of Native Americans, we are all immigrants.”