One of the most interesting developments at the National League of Cities meeting last week in Charlotte was the announcement of an NLC task force on immigration. Tension between the feds and municipalities on immigration issues has been simmering. And it reached the boiling point among some local officials in a very emotional discussion I attended.
Houston councilman Gordon Quan and Dennis Campa, the director of San Antonio's Department of Community Initiatives, acknowledged their cities have adopted an accommodating approach--providing educational services, creating safe places for day laborers to gather and in Houston, discouraging police officers from cracking down on immigration violations. "We have enough problems with crime and not enough manpower to be enforcing such laws," Quan said. "Houston is a diverse city and we don't need officers profiling different ethnicities."
But such a relaxed attitude angered one council member from Yuma, Arizona, whose own state is "buckling" under the costs of law enforcement, medical care and other costs stemming from illegal immigration. "We have an obligation to enforce the borders," he said.