Monday, May 17, 2010

Possible side effects of immigrant checks
(Page 1 of 4)
By Dan Morse
Monday, May 17, 2010
The Washington Post

Outside a Wheaton nightclub last month, police say, a middle-aged Hispanic man watched a driver ram his Toyota Camry into the side of a Honda Accord, get out, stab one of the Accord passengers nearly to death, get back into his Camry and leave. The witness wrote down the Camry's license plate number, waited for police and passed along the information.

What does that have to do with the nationwide debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law? More than you might think.

The help provided by the witness, said Montgomery County's police chief, is just the kind of cooperation that could vanish if local police officers start aggressively enforcing immigration laws. And Chief J. Thomas Manger is emerging as a national voice in the debate over immigration laws and policing.

"I understand why a lot of folks in Arizona thought this was the solution," said Manger, who is scheduled to speak at a news conference Monday as the representative of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. "But I just know from a police chief's perspective, there can easily be as many negative consequences."

Not everyone agrees with Manger, nationally or in Montgomery.

"It's unfortunate that he has become a poster child for law enforcement and how to handle illegal immigration," said Brad Botwin, director of the anti-illegal immigration group Help Save Maryland. Manger's approach, which relies heavily on federal agents, "doesn't do nearly enough," Botwin said.

Under the Arizona to complete article

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