Fox News' Greta Van Susteren falsely suggested that President Obama is "cherry-picking" law enforcement officers who oppose Arizona's immigration law "in an effort to be less than candid about the seriousness of the problem." In fact, major national and state-wide police chiefs associations representing the police departments of a large number of cities have spoken against the law.
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Van Susteren: Is Obama "cherry-picking" law enforcement officers who oppose AZ law?
Obama: "Police chiefs and others for law enforcement" say AZ law puts huge pressure on law enforcement, hurts relationship with communities. During his July 1 speech on immigration, Obama stated that the Arizona law is "ill conceived" and that law enforcement officers "will tell you" that it could hurt their efforts to keep communities safe:
Laws like Arizona's put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable. It puts pressure on already hard-strapped state and local budgets. It makes it difficult for people here illegally to report crimes -- driving a wedge between communities and law enforcement, making our streets more dangerous and the jobs of our police officers more difficult.
And you don't have to take my word for this. You can speak to the police chiefs and others from law enforcement here today who will tell you the same thing.
Van Susteren asks if Obama was "cherry-picking" a "couple" of officers who agree with his position on the Arizona law. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer stated of Obama's remarks: "[E]verybody that I come across in law enforcement, other than a couple of sheriffs in a couple of areas -- other than that, you know, the majority of law enforcement support the bill." Fox News host Greta Van Susteren then asked, "Is he cherry-picking a couple issues or a couple supporters in an effort to be less than candid about the seriousness of the problem, or am I overstating it?"
From the July 1 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, he mentioned in his speech today -- because we actually -- we actually went to the speech because it's so much different, at least I think, when you actually sit in the room. So we actually went and sat in the room at American University. But he talked about -- he said that he had -- he had spoken to law enforcement and he has said that SB1070, according to law enforcement he has spoken to or his staff has spoken to -- that they are opposed to it, that it's going to make it more difficult for them to do their jobs. You're shaking your head no.
BREWER: Law enforcement in the state of Arizona supports Senate bill 1070. We have many organizations and groups of the officers on the ground that understand the problem, need another tool in order to address the problem and support it wholeheartedly. And everybody that I come across in law enforcement, other than a couple of sheriffs in a couple of areas -- other than that, you know, the majority of law enforcement support the bill! So that's just misrepresentation again on behalf of the federal government!
VAN SUSTEREN: Is he cherry-picking a couple issues or a couple supporters in an effort to be less than candid about the seriousness of the problem, or am I overstating it?
BREWER: No, I don't you're overstating it. I think he's picking out a couple of people that maybe might disagree with the issue and how we're looking at it. But the bottom line is, is that he's wrong, he's absolutely wrong, Greta.
In fact, the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association oppose the immigration law
AACOP: Law "will negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies ... to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner." From AACOP's statement on the bill:
The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police (AACOP) remains in opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 1070. The provisions of the bill remain problematic and will negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner.
While AACOP recognizes immigration as a significant issue in Arizona, we remain strong in our belief that it is an issue most appropriately addressed at the federal level. AACOP strongly urges the U. S. Congress to immediately initiate the necessary steps to begin the process of comprehensively addressing the immigration issue to provide solutions that are fair, logical, and equitable.
According to New America Media, AACOP "represents police departments in more than 80 cities."
AACOP president reportedly said the law "makes it very difficult for us to police our communities." ABC News reported on May 26:
"It's very divisive," said John W. Harris, president of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and police chief of Sahuarita, Arizona. "It puts Arizona law enforcement right in the middle. You have one side saying that we're going to do racial profiling. You have another side saying we're not doing enough... It makes it very difficult for us to police our communities."
Major Cities Chiefs Association reportedly reaffirmed policy that "immigration enforcement by local police" likely undermines trust. USA today reported on April 26, 2010: "San Jose Police Chief Robert Davis, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, said the group stands by its 2006 policy that 'immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect and undermine the level of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities.'" The Major Cities Chiefs Association says it "is the association of the Chiefs of the 56 largest municipal police departments in the United States.