The sheriff of Polk County is joining law officers from Texas and California in calling for a overhaul of the U.S. immigration system. Sheriff Bill McCarthy, who is the former Des Moines police chief, says he agrees with his counterparts that complex immigration laws and policies make it tough for local officials to do their jobs — and illegal aliens in the community are afraid to talk with and help law officers do their jobs.
McCarthy says he is also worried about how federal officials handle immigration issues. McCarthy says: “We’re concerned about the changing behaviors of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, now called ICE. And I don’t think it is because they lack professional, qualified and competent people. It’s because the nation has not had a direction provided by the congress, and because of that, they have had a schizophrenic response to these kinds of issues as they’ve developed.”
McCarthy says he decided to speak up about the issue after the immigration raid on the Agriproccessors plant in Postville. McCarthy says the raid shattered the community. “That changed my heart, we don’t operate that way in this country,” McCarthy says, “and I know what they were trying to do, they were trying to make a statement against those who hire illegals. But in the course of that behavior, we disrupted families at the core level and terrorized children, and that should never happen in this country. Our values do not reflect that now, nor have they ever.” McCarthy says there has to be a change.
He says he knows no other way of resolving the issue other than deciding a national position, securing the borders and treating the people who are here humanely. McCarthy, is a Democrat, and says political people he talked with told him this issue does not resonate with people, as they want secure borders and do not want to deal with the other issues surrounding immigration. He says the officers want secure borders too and the current system isn’t working.
McCarthy says they want it dealt with and they want the country to come up with a standard that everyone can live with. He says they don’t have to all like the standard, but they have to know what it is. McCarthy says it has become such a consequence to communities that it is time to get on with it and get the issue solved in a “fair and just” way. McCarthy made his comments on a conference all along with Sacramento police chief Rick Braziel and Arlington, Texas deputy police chief Kim Lemaux.