Police Chief Andy Harvey's Mexican mother came to the United States as an illegal immigrant in the 1950s. Still a young girl, she crossed the Rio Grande with her mother, never dreaming she would have a son in the United States who would advise the federal government on immigration policies.
But last week, Harvey, 47, was appointed to the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, a group of roughly 100 police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide who advise the federal government and states on the impact of immigration policies on local law enforcement and public safety.
“Chief Harvey is not just a law enforcement executive – he's a thought leader,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, the task force's co-chairperson, told the Herald-Press Friday. “He brings the perspective of a deep thinker with comprehensive law enforcement experience.”
Acevedo recommended Harvey for the Task Force, which was founded in 2015.
In Texas, the Task Force opposed SB 4, which makes local officials criminally liable if they don't cooperate with federal efforts to enforce immigration laws. The policy, the Task Force said, has made Latino communities across Texas afraid to cooperate with local police, undercutting public safety.
The Task Force also said local police don’t have the resources to act as federal immigration officers.
A former command officer for the Dallas Police Department, Harvey, 47, became Palestine's police chief last August. He is a 20-year Air Force veteran, retiring as a First Sergeant with the Texas Air National Guard. He led troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Hurricane Katrina.
Harvey was born in Weslaco, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. His mother, Luz Amelia Lopez Aguirre, was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Harvey's background informs his perspective on immigration. “When I think about my mother and grandmother, it makes it a little more personal for me,” Harvey said. “But I don't let my personal feelings interfere with how we police. We police in a fair and equitable way for everyone.”
Harvey called it an honor to serve on the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, giving Palestine a voice in the national and state immigration debate. “I want to be part of the discussion on how immigration policies affect our profession,” he said. “It's a real honor and privilege.”