South Bend Police Chief joins national immigration discussion - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Police Chief joins national immigration discussion

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Immigration reform is heating up again in Washington. This time, law enforcement officials are putting pressure on lawmakers.

South Bend Police Chief, Ron Teachman is in the nation's capital for Police Week. Tuesday, in a meeting with the President and other law enforcement officials, he stressed the need for reform.

"Until we have a national immigration reform, we are left locally, to patchwork quilt a law enforcement response," said Teachman on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

He says building trust with immigrants in South Bend neighborhoods can help them catch violent criminals. "We need them to be the eyes and ears for us to tell us what's going on in their communities," says Teachman.
But Teachman says while it's not the job of local police to have those who are here illegally, deported, the fear still exists. "That's what these criminals are doing, is conviconvincing that they're subject to deportation and the fear of being removed, and being ripped apart from their families, is more important to them than the fear of suffering from crime."

Sam Centellas with La Casa de Amistad in South Bend says, "I think a lot of people don't report a lot of things to them because they have that fear but a local South Bend police officer isn't going to get somebody deported in most situations. So part of it is just building trust."

Centellas says community events like one held on Cinco de Mayo, are a step towards that. But he, along with the President and Chief Teachman, believe comprehensive immigration reform is necessary. "There's years and years of wait time. There's extreme cost in order to become an American citizen," says Centellas.
It's an issue hotly debated in Washington. The big question is will they even take up immigration reform. 

We caught up with Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Tuesday. She says she hasn't made any decisions yet. "Listening to a lot of folks. Listening to them in Washington, listening to them at home. We have a lot of meetings with folks. There's still no indication from the Speaker how those bills are gonna come down. If they're going to come down," she says.

The Senate passed an immigration reform bill last June and now the President is putting pressure on the Speaker of the House to bring it to the floor before the midterm elections, but there has been no indication that will happen any time soon.
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