The criminal justice system would work more efficiently and justly if prosecutors and defendants knew that, in these cases, immigration judges would at least be able to consider all the individual factors, including U.S. military service, rehabilitation and family ties, to determine if it is in the best interests of the United States to let someone remain in the country. Protecting and expanding the conditional waiver in the current bill would allow this to happen; the waiver must be included in the final legislation to ensure fundamental due process safeguards.
We work to combat crime in immigrant communities and rely on their help in prosecuting crime in and out of their communities. Their fear of being funneled into a harsh and unreasonable immigration system deters them from engaging with law enforcement because of the constant threat of deportation. This reality makes the criminal justice system less effective and hinders our ability to solve crimes and hold perpetrators accountable.
As a law enforcement officer who has spent a lifetime working to pursue justice and protect the public, I implore Congress to implement immigration reform that will uphold and ensure fundamental American values of fairness and due process.
Robert Johnson served as Anoka County, Minn., attorney from 1983 through 2010 and is the former president of the National District Attorneys Association and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.