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posted: 3/3/2014 5:01 AM

Immigration reform will build trust

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Much has been made about the lack of trust that exists between House Republicans and the president. This broken relationship has been cited as the main reason for a delay in moving forward with broad immigration reform legislation. But a different kind of trust is exactly why we need reform, and we need Congress to move quickly.

I have dedicated decades of my life to enforcing our laws. As a prosecutor, an instructor of criminal justice, and now as the sheriff of Lake County, I have come to understand the importance of good law enforcement implementation through many angles. I know very well that trust in the community is a critical component for enforcement.

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The longer we delay this necessary reform, the longer my deputies will struggle to serve and protect neighbors in our community who may not trust anyone with a badge because they fear being caught up in our broken immigration system. Even victims of crime may be afraid to come forward.

Fortunately, we now have an opportunity to create a process that finally addresses the fear and uncertainty immigrant communities face while allowing local, state and federal law enforcement officials to support a system that reinforces the rule of law. Americans in both parties overwhelmingly support immigration reform. Law enforcement leaders join business, agriculture, faith groups, labor groups and human rights advocates who are uniting like never before to push for reform now. Leaders in the House of Representatives need to put trust over politics and recognize this opportunity -- for our country and for their own respect.

With a new immigration process, law enforcement officials will better be able to build trust in the communities we serve. And that will keep all of us safer.

Mark C. Curran

Lake County sheriff

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