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The purpose of this statement is to clarify the conditions under which the Metropolitan Police Department collaborates with federal immigration authorities. I am issuing this statement because Latino community leaders have pointed out to me that MPD's occasional collaboration with federal immigration authorities has led some leaders to believe that the MPD has gone back on its policy with respect to the enforcement of civil immigration laws. I would like to state emphatically that this is not the case.
MPD's policy with respect to the enforcement of civil immigration laws is very clear: MPD officers are strictly prohibited from making inquiries into citizenship or residency status for the purpose of determining whether an individual has violated the civil immigration laws or for the purpose of enforcing those laws. In other words, the MPD is not in the business of inquiring about the residency status of the people we serve and is not in the business of enforcing civil immigration laws.
The reasoning behind this policy is straightforward: Our department is responsible for providing police services to everyone in the District of Columbia - equally, fairly, and justly. To help carry out that mission, we have adopted a strategy of community policing - of police and residents working together to fight crime in a partnership of cooperation, respect, and trust. If some of our residents are reluctant to interact with the police, because they fear we are there to enforce civil immigration laws, then all hopes for partnership and cooperation are lost, and what really suffers the most is the safety of entire communities.