Selma Police Chief eases residents' deportation fears at community meeting

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St. Joseph's Catholic Church is a place of refuge where families gathered on Friday to voice and ease their concerns about deportation. (KFSN)

Tension is building in many Valley communities over deportation fears. In Selma, families are calling on the police department to improve its immigration policy.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church is a place of refuge where families gathered on Friday to voice and ease their concerns about deportation.

"They live in fear, and they don't have a good relationship with the police," organizer Marlene Perez said.

With rumors of ICE raids surfacing across the Valley, families are worried agents will come to Selma. At this community meeting, neighbors asked if local police would cooperate with deportation officers.

"Immigration status is absolutely meaningless to us when we are investigating a crime," Selma Police Chief Greg Garner explained.

Garner is trying to heal any distrust building in town, promising that officers will not call ICE after a traffic stop.

"What is important to us is that they feel comfortable talking to us," he said.

Garner says in his four years as chief, ICE has never asked for the department's assistance. And that he encourages families to report crimes. Already, some in the crowd started opening up.

"Thank you for walking with us on a path to a more just world," said Father Guadalupe Rios, pastor of St Joseph's in Selma.

The chief is also putting his promises into writing, rewording sections of the department's policy by removing fear from the unknown.

Related Topics:
societyfresno countyICEdeportationSelma
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