This week, California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a legal directive indicating that it is not compulsory for local law enforcement agencies to hold a detainee just because it is required by federal immigration authorities. Harris said that every police department must decide on its own whether to comply with the so-called detainers. These detainers are requests to hold someone beyond what criminal laws require, so that ICE may determine if immigration laws have been broken. There are several reasons why the decision Harris made is a step in the right direction. First, it validates the concern of many police chiefs and civil rights advocates that the Se Communities program not only does not fulfill its own objectives. In practice, it also has turned out to be damaging in several ways: creating fear of police in immigrant communities, having local governments foot the bill for detention expenses for an activity that is essentially federal and giving rise to civil rights..

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