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Local Law Enforcement Leaders Discuss Immigration with President Obama Congressional Action is Urgent for Community Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Local law enforcement leaders met with President Obama today to talk about the pressing need for immigration reform.

Following the meeting, participants joined a telephonic press call to talk about the meeting and law enforcement leaders’ urgency for Congress to vote on immigration reform that restores honor to the rule of law, employs local resources responsibly and adds to our nation’s security.

Also today, the National Immigration Forum released a paper that encapsulates this support: “5 Reasons Law Enforcement Officials Support Immigration Reform.”

The following are quotes from law enforcement leaders on today’s call:
Art Acevedo, Police Chief, Austin, Texas:
“Immigration reform is almost universally supported by law enforcement, the clergy, and the American people. The time to act is now.”

Sheriff Jerry Demings, Orange County, Fla.:
“The time is now for reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, and we look forward to working with our national and state partners to make that happen. In Florida this is a significant issue because of the nearly 1 million undocumented individuals believed to be in the state. And while tourism is central to our state’s economy, we still have a significant agriculture industry that would be negatively impacted if we do not address immigration reform.”

Robert Haas, Police Commissioner, Cambridge, Mass.:
“There has been a major sea change in public opinion around immigration reform. Law enforcement has been advocating for a long time because we need to be clear in our core mission, which is building community trust. The notion of community policing is to develop that pathway of communication within the community and we really want a strong relationship and commitment and strong public trust of the police. We urgently need immigration reform because our current immigration system doesn’t help foster that.”

Chief James R. Lopez, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
“Law enforcement needs clear direction regarding immigration reform, and it must come from Washington. Homeland security begins with community security, and community security begins with community trust. That trust is crucial in the immigrant communities we serve.”

Ron Teachman, Police Chief, South Bend, Ind.:
“The current situation creates a climate that fosters criminal enterprise. Because we know our undocumented residents are more fearful of deportation than of being victimized, they are exploited in the workplace, in their neighborhoods, and sometimes even in their own homes. We need to break through that fear so we can establish trust, cooperation and collaboration. We need Congress to act. We can’t have our local and national security hijacked by a handful of elected officials with a personal agenda.”


BOSTON—State Sen. Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), Senate Chairman to the Legislative Caucus on International Trade and Global Competitiveness and the Portuguese American Legislative Caucus, hosted European Union Ambassador to the United States João Vale de Almeida in Southeastern Massachusetts on Friday at Bridgewater State University and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Ambassador Vale de Almeida is the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. A large group of attendees, including Consul Generals, state legislators, and business, academic, and community leaders joined the ambassador for a tour of Bridgewater State University’s new state-of-the-art Science and Mathematics Center and a luncheon.

At University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the ambassador toured the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives and gave a lecture on the evolving relationship between the European Union and the United States.

“It was an honor to have Ambassador Vale de Almeida in Southeastern Massachusetts to show him the positive activity we have going on in higher education, business, and other sectors of our region,” said Pacheco. “I was proud to share University of Massachusetts’ Portuguese-American archives with the ambassador, who comes from Portugal, and it was perfect timing to introduce him to Bridgewater State University, which is looking to develop a European studies program.”

“The connections made Friday represent the bonds growing ever stronger between the European Union and the United States,” Pacheco added. “We were extremely fortunate to be able to engage with the leader who is responsible for that growth.”

For more information about the ambassador’s visit, call Pacheco’s office at 617-722-1551, visit his Facebook page at or follow Pacheco on Twitter @MarcRPacheco.

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