Former Washington D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey: “The department is...not in the business of enforcing civil immigration laws.”
(Washington DC)—Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, released documents today received from Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department [MPD] in response to an open records lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed on March 8, 2007 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, asked the court to compel the D.C. Police Department to comply with Judicial Watch’s August 10, 2006 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking documents pertaining to the department’s illegal immigration policies.
Within days of the filing of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the Washington DC’s Police Department released a memo from Charles H. Ramsey who, until recently, served as Chief of Police, that states: “MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] 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…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.” [Emphasis in the original.]
The newly released documents also reiterate the “limited” and infrequent support the department offers to federal immigration officials.
“The sanctuary policies of Washington DC’s police department are a disgrace and an affront to the rule of law. Local police departments do not have a free pass to violate and undermine federal immigration law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our nation’s capital, of all places, should not undermine federal immigration law, but rather set an example for other cities in the U.S. I hope Congress and the Bush administration take some action to ensure that the rule of law is respected here in Washington, DC”
Judicial Watch filed a taxpayer lawsuit seeking to end a similar sanctuary police policy in Los Angeles, known as “Special Order 40.” Judicial Watch has also investigated police sanctuary polices in Houston, Chicago, and Westchester County, New York. Federal law states that “…a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service [now Immigration and Customs Enforcement] information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”
Judicial Watch also recently released the results of a national poll performed by Zogby International that shows the overwhelming majority of Americans support the use of local law enforcement officers to help enforce federal immigration laws.
To read copies of the Washington, DC Police documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, or to learn more about JW’s other illegal immigration programs, visit www.judicialwatch.org