Dayton police chief reacts to immigration testimony

(WDTN Photo)
(WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Police Chief Richard Biehl is back in Dayton after testifying before a U.S. House Committee on immigration issues.

This comes after the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant in what’s known as a sanctuary city. These are cities where policies are in place to protect undocumented immigrants.

Communities across the country could see their access to federal funds impacted if lawmakers go on to pass new bills targeting sanctuary cities.

Biehl testified on behalf of a Homeland Security Task Force made up of law enforcement officers. The bill later passed Thursday in the House and will continue on to the Senate.

Members of the task force discussed both documented and undocumented immigrants.The Chief offered testimony about the role of local law enforcement in immigration issues.

Some believe Dayton is a sanctuary city, but officials have assured 2 NEWS we are not. City officials have told 2 NEWS the Welcome Dayton Immigration initiative does not make the Gem City a sanctuary city.

The chief says despite the clarifications, there is a big misconception across the Gem City about our status. Biehl says his job is not to enforce federal rules to keep undocumented immigrants out of any city, including Dayton.

“So it’s a federal responsibility and there’s a difference between assisting federal law enforcement in their mission then assuming their mission,” he explained. “We clearly assist federal law enforcement here in this community in a substantial way to include immigration-related issues in a very narrow range. But we’re not assume the mission of federal immigration authorities anymore then were going to assume the mission for the FBI, ATF, the DEA, the Secret Service and on and on and on.”

A 2007 Ohio Attorney General opinion has said Ohio police officers do not have the authority to enforce civil violations for immigration. And the Chief says it’s not an authority he will go after.

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