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KCK police chief and local ACLU respond to President’s new immigration orders

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- “We're dealing with an increase of violent crime last year, an increase in drive by shootings, those are the things that are important to us,” says KCK Police Chief Terry Zeigler.

KCK’s top cop weighed in on keeping his city safe in light of the president's new immigration orders.

The Department of Homeland Security today released details on immigration enforcement.

The new order calls for stricter enforcement of America’s immigration laws -- laws that are generating fear in the immigrant community.

FOX 4's Melissa Stern spoke to Zeigler about how he is reacting to the new federal enforcement guidelines in a city where he says diversity is what makes the city thrive.

“Everybody wants to live the American Dream, that's why they come here, and as long as they're not committing crimes, we're okay with that,” Chief Zeigler said.

Zeigler said the new immigration policies under the Trump administration will not change how his department runs.

“We have enough crime issues to deal with in the community. That it is not feasible for us to go out and look for people who are here illegally,” Zeigler explained.

The new memo explains that any illegal immigrant that an immigration officer feels might be a risk to public safety or national security can be deported.

According to the ACLU of Kansas, this could make it extremely difficult for some immigrants to claim asylum.

In a statement the ACLU said, “These directives threaten to tear apart families and leave US citizens without parents, children, husbands and wives. It's not who we are as a country to rule by fear, confusion and cruelty.”

Additionally, the order calls for state and local law enforcement officers to enforce it.

Chief Zeigler said that initiative will have to take a back seat to the task of keeping his city safe day-to-day, hour-by-hour.

“If the federal government wants to go out and do that, more power to them, but I do not have the resources available to be part of that,” Zeigler declared.

KCK police said violent crime increased last year and their main concern is keeping the community safe from immediate threats.

“I think the real tragedy would be if the undocumented people in our community quit coming forward to report crime, or quit coming forward to provide information to police. Now that's going to have a big negative impact on crime and the quality of life in KCK,” Chief Zeigler added.

He said KCK is so diverse he doesn't foresee these new orders creating any issues, as seeing people from other ethnicities is not out of the ordinary for the community.