Andy Sheehan, KDKA-TV (Pittsburgh), August 11, 2010
“We want to make sure that we’re not terrifying that individual or stepping across that fine line of racial profiling,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said.
Harper recently issued new guidelines to his officers to no longer check the immigration status of a person and to leave enforcement of immigration laws to federal officers. Harper says police need good relations with the immigrant community and should not be feared.
“It’s very important that have communication–a very well-built bridge to all neighborhoods throughout the City of Pittsburgh, ” he said. “We don’t want to have to go into any neighborhood and not be able to communicate.”
University of Pittsburgh Professor David Harris who served on an advisory committee which drew up the new guidelines says they will make police more effective.
“I honest to God believe that all local police should be trying to do something to stop illegal immigrants,” Rich Stanizzo, a labor leader, said.
He says illegal immigrants are taking American jobs and all law enforcement has a duty to investigate and arrest them.
“When you crossed this border illegally, that was a crime,” he said. “So they already have committed a crime whether it be the city, the state, this country. It’s a crime. Somebody better start investigating.”
But in Brookline, most people who spoke with KDKA’s Andy Sheehan say the immigrants have been a welcome addition. Missy Berumen says aggressive policing would ultimately hurt the city.
“We shouldn’t be suspicious of the people. We should welcome immigration. We should welcome the people from different countries. That’s what America’s all about,” she said.