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What argument can be made to say that local law enforcement should not be allowed to enforce immigration law?  

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There are a number of arguments that can be made for this point of view.  Let us look at two of the most important of them.

First, local law enforcement (one can argue) should not get involved in immigration law because it is an area of law given to the federal government.  Our federal system is built in part on the idea that neither level of government should get involved in the other’s jurisdiction unless it is invited.  If the federal government does not want the states getting involved, they should not.

Second, the point of local law enforcement is to protect the people of a given jurisdiction.  They can do that better if they are not trying to be the immigration police.  They will have more resources and time for chasing “real” criminals.  They will also be able to have the cooperation of communities that have a lot of illegal immigrants.  If illegal immigrants are always worried about being arrested by local law enforcement, they will not do things like coming forward as witnesses to serious crimes.  This will hurt the local police’s ability to keep its jurisdiction safe. 

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