Last week, we published a story about the controversial response
from the Spokane Human Rights Commission over City Councilman Mike Fagan's diatribe against "illegal aliens" during a council meeting.
Fagan's remarks detailed several gory and violent episodes involving assailants who were in the United States illegally. Several members of the human rights commission felt that by using these anecdotes, Fagan was painting a grossly inaccurate picture of undocumented immigrants.
But how about the reality? Is illegal immigration causing an uptick in violent crime or property crime in this city?
Last week, the Inlander
called up Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl, and he was crystal clear on the answer.
"We do not have an undocumented immigrant problem in the city of Spokane," Meidl says. "The complaints we are hearing in the community are not stemming from undocumented immigrants."
In his 23 years with the Spokane Police Department, Meidl says that, to his knowledge, he's had a grand total of two
contacts with undocumented immigrants.
"One was an assault call unrelated to his documented status," Meidl says. And the other was a neighbor concerned about the way an undocumented immigrant was looking at his kids. That's all.
Just to make sure that his experience wasn't unique, Meidl says he brought in two of his majors and asked him the same question.
"We had over 80 years of experience [between the three of us]," he says. "All three of us had a total of five contacts with undocumented immigrants. The primary reason for these contacts didn't have anything with their immigration status."
For all the challenges that face the Spokane police department, he says, this certainly isn't one.