Urge President to End Instead of Expand 287(g), Honor Promises of Reform
Washington, DC 12.13.12 Todayrights groups across the country are participating on a national call-in day to the White House urging the Administration to terminate the fundamentally flawed 287(g) deportation program instead of expanding it to 11 new counties.
On the heels of the President’s recent reelection and his renewed promises on immigration reform, rights groups urge him to take immediate, concrete action to undo the damage of misguided deportation policies that run counter to the goal of legalization.
The federal 287(g) program, which deputizes local police and corrections officers to do the work of immigration agents, has been plagued by controversy. This year Department of Homeland Security proposed phasing out its use in its 2012 budget. However, the program is still active in 57 jurisdictions and on December 17th, DHS will consider approval of 11 additional counties in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Virginia.
In a strongly worded letter to President Obama in 2009 demanding the program’s termination, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus described the program as “dangerous to community safety.” The letter echoed the criticism of community members, local elected leaders, and law enforcement and was followed by three scathing reports in 2010-2011 by DHS’s Office of Inspector General and the national condemnation of the program from over 500 civil society organizations and editorial boards,
Today’s national call-in day takes place in advance of a December 17th meeting in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement will review the 11 pending agreements and review whether it will continue activation of the 57 active agreements.
“ The President was re-elected by Latinos with a mandate to fulfill his promises on immigration reform. Ending the fundamentally flawed 287(g) program sends a clear signal that the President is serious about reforming the dysfunctional status quo that criminalizes Latinos and tears thousands of families apart,” said Patricia Montes of Centro Presente in Somersville, Massachusetts.
“It is perplexing that after criticism from both inside and outside the government, ICE is looking to expand into five jurisdictions in Massachusetts,” said ACLU of Massachusetts Staff Attorney Laura Rótolo. “Our counties should not bear the cost and burden of enforcing federal immigration law.”
“Local and state law enforcement should be in the business of protecting communities, not enforcing federal immigration law,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Rights Working Group. “The evidence is clear; the 287(g) program is a failed experiment. It often leads to racial profiling and the targeting of people who are Latino or assumed to be Latino, violating the rights of entire communities and making people fearful of contacting the police for help. It should be ended immediately,” Huang said.
“Across the country cities and states are adopting local policies to roll back the damage caused by programs like 287(g) and the equally dysfunctional “Secure Communities” deportation program. The President should look to Cook County, Illinois, Washington, DC, and the California TRUST act for examples of what positive immigration policy looks like,” said Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
Participating organizations include: Florida Immigrant Coalition, ACLU of Florida, North Carolina Justice Center, Coalicion de Organizaciones Latino Americanas, ACLU of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Centro Presente, VA Legal Aid Justice Center - Immigrant Advocacy Program, Rights Working Group, Tennessee Immigrant Rights and Refugee Coalition