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Add former Miami police chief to chorus opposing immigration overhaul

Former Miami Police Chief John Timoney and current Mayor Tomás Regalado have not always seen eye-to-eye. The ex-chief was forced to step down shortly after Regalado's election.

But they agree on one thing: opposing immigration crackdown bills in the state Legislature.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center released a letter Friday from Timoney to state lawmakers, urging them to consider the consequences HB 7089 and SB 2040 could have on law enforcement.

"It has been my experience (and that of many other police professionals) that maintaining the trust of immigrants is essential to protecting the public, solving crimes and keeping the peace," Timoney wrote.
"I am very concerned about the potential impact that two bills (HB 7089 and SB 2040) could have on the effectiveness of local police and public safety, particularly in the many areas of Florida that now have significant immigrant populations."

As an example, Timoney cited the 2003 case of the Shenandoah rapist in Miami. Police would have had a more difficult time solving the case "without tips and information from immigrants in the community," he wrote.

"The proposed legislation threatens public safety," Timoney concluded. "I ask you to reject HB 7089 and SB 2040."

Regalado sent lawmakers a letter on Wednesday cautioning about how the immigration bills could hurt tourism in Miami.