New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley's announcement that law-abiding immigrants do not have to fear NOPD enforcement of federal immigration laws drew surprising praise from a frequent critic. "If they have been robbed, we're not going to take away their freedom," Riley said recently. Tulane University criminologist Peter Scharf, who has excoriated NOPD on other issues, applauds Riley's immigration stance. "[Immigration] is a highly charged area of selected enforcement for police all over the country," Scharf says. "There are several reasons: one is ethical — do you really want to take a parent away from a child and put him or her in a detention facility?" In addition, police nationwide are cutting back resources because of the economic downturn. Some research suggests that immigrant families help law enforcement to achieve its mission by providing family structure and a work ethic — "stabilizing factors" in many communities, Scharf says, adding, "Riley is right." — Allen Johnson Jr.