The Major Cities Chiefs Association on Thursday called on the federal Department of Homeland Security to meet with them as their departments struggle with the influx of immigrants from the southern border. The chiefs said they want to hear how federal immigration authorities plan to deal with relocating immigrants to their cities and how they will handle “sanctuary city” status declared by local governments, and the police want a voice in the federal policymaking process.

The chiefs’ working group wants to discuss the federal policy on Immigration and Customs Enforcement civil detainers for undocumented immigrants, which a number of police departments and jails have refused to recognize since they are not criminal warrants. They also want to talk about the issue of notifying ICE before releasing prisoners who have immigration detainers. “The immigration authorities have to pick them up,” Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, who leads the Association, told the Washington Post. “We don’t turn them over.”

Some chiefs told Acevedo that their local social service agencies are being overwhelmed by busloads of suddenly relocated immigrants. “There needs to be a sense of urgency,” Acevedo said, “when we see asylum seekers that are being distributed throughout the country. We need to know what is the plan and what is the impact on public safety. We need to be part of the discussion because while immigration enforcement is a federal issue, these decisions have an impact on the safety and security of the American people, and that is our primary responsibility.”

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