Los Angeles – This week, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (DHS-OIG) released a scathing report (http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIG_10-63_Mar10.pdf) on the operation and supervision of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s 287(g) agreements with local law enforcement agencies (LEA) across the United States. Among other findings, the OIG stated that there were numerous instances where ICE and LEAs were not adhering to the terms of their agreements; that there was deficient general oversight of the program and lacking specific supervision of participating officers; and an absence of an effective tool to assess whether the outcomes of the program resemble the goals as stated in the agreements. The following are statements by Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a human and immigrant rights organization based in Los Angeles.
“This is a damning report of a program we have recommended time and time again cease immediately. The mere fact that ICE did not consent to the report’s recommendation to collect arrest data is troubling enough. We have been reminded recently that ICE’s goal of prioritizing serious criminals is compromised by reality where the majority of individuals brought into custody, put in detention and ultimately deported are actually non-criminal.
The DHS-OIG’s report is just the latest government study to find numerous faults with the 287(g) program.
In January 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a similarly critical report that among other things concluded that: some law enforcement agencies had been abusing the program by using it to process people for minor crimes, such as speeding; again that supervision was deficient; and that requested data collection on arrestees was arbitrary if not entirely absent.
It was to this effect that in August 2009 we joined in signing a letter with over 500 other groups (http://www.chirla.org/en/node/610) requesting that the Obama Administration terminate the 287(g) program rather than attempting to tweak it. A year later, in the wake of this new study we can only reiterate that point.
While ICE now requires new standardized agreements (these were outside the focus period of the OIG report) with any 287(g) jurisdiction, we remain very skeptical that these modifications will address the concerns raised therein. This report should serve as a reminder to all of us as to why police resources are best focused on working with our communities to ensure public safety, rather than being diverted to officers working for ICE.”
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
(213) 353-1789 direct