October 24, 2016
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Obama Administration Announces Review, Extension of Immigration Program

For Immediate Release                 Contact: Katherine Vargas (kvargas@immigrationforum.org)

July 10, 2009                                                                (202) 383-5987 or (202) 641-5198 (mobile)



Advocates Question Extension of the Problematic Program Until New Standards Are Proven


WashingtonDC - Today, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the results of a long-awaited review of the so-called 287(g) program at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a program by which state and local law enforcement and corrections authorities work with federal immigration authorities to identify and remove immigrants.  The Secretary also announced ICE would be expanding the program to an additional eleven jurisdictions.  All current and future jurisdictions will enter into newly formulated agreements with the federal government based on a set of criteria intended to focus directly on serious and violent criminals, provide greater federal oversight of the program, and minimize the racial profiling and overly zealous implementation of the program at the state and local level.  The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan, non-profit pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington.


Up to this point, 287(g) has been the worst thing to happen to law enforcement since John Dillinger.  It has been an utter failure, spawned widespread racial profiling, sparked law suits and civil rights investigations, and literally let loose local cowboys to round people up in immigrant communities.  Moreover, police chiefs and law-enforcement officials like the Police Foundation have been shouting to Washington to please stop making it harder for them to keep their communities safe by turning local police into immigration agents. 


Reviewing every single agreement that ICE has entered into with local cops and jailers is long overdue, but extending the program to new jurisdictions at the same time is unwise.  If the new emphasis on serious criminals is real and the federal oversight on local implementation has teeth, then we expect those who have been abusing their power under the program - Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona comes immediately to mind - will be terminated.  Unless the oversight is real, broadening a failed program with a new promise of good intentions is not going to be received well in local communities.  And more importantly, it is not nearly as helpful in solving our immigration problems as actually addressing comprehensive immigration reform head-on as police chiefs and others recommend.


We have been critical of 287(g) as it currently stands because the reality on the ground has been a program that encourages police to go after immigrants who have not committed serious crimes.  Any enforcement regime that targets that population is a waste of time and money and a band-aid on an open wound, at best. 


We need to insist that immigrants come here through legal channels and that the immigrants already here get into the legal system - and create the mechanisms for both of those things to happen.  That is what comprehensive immigration reform is about and it makes much more sense than holding out for the fantasy that we can deport 12,000,000 undocumented immigrants, that they will leave on their own because of enforcement, or that no more will come.  We need to do more than tweak and expand enforcement programs; we need to change the laws.


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