The targeting of undocumented people for quality of life offenses and other minor things is giving the children of the undocumented nightmares and is becoming the monster in the closet of their heads, always there, a possibility, a constant fear. I see it in the writing of students of mine who read the headlines and wonder what would happen to them, children born in the U.S., citizens, if their undocumented parent(s) were pulled over for a broken taillight.
Yesterday it was reported that the fears of children are not unfounded, that there is indeed a monster in their closets.
287(g) programs allow local law enforcement agents to enforce Federal immigration laws and they also allow for racial profiling among other abuses.
The report, to be released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, says the government has failed to determine how many of the thousands of people deported under the program were the kind of violent felons it was devised to root out.
Some law enforcement agencies had used the program to deport immigrants “who have committed minor crimes, such as carrying an open container of alcohol,” the report said, and at least four agencies referred minor traffic offenders for deportation.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has already ordered a review of the program. A top official at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is set to testify at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Here’s the official press release as posted by Nezua:
For Immediate Release
RECIPE FOR FAILURE: LOCAL COPS AS IMMIGRATION AGENTS
GAO Report Adds To Bevy of Analysis Revealing Deficiencies of 287(g) Program
March 4, 2009
Washington D.C. – Today the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its congressionally commissioned report on the 287(g) program. The Government’s review of this program, which deputizes local law-enforcement officers to act as immigration enforcement agents, confirms what community members and criminal-justice experts have been saying for some time: the program is not being used to target dangerous criminals, and there has not been adequate federal oversight of the local police departments participating in the program.
Findings of GAO Report:
The GAO report found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not clearly articulated the objectives of the 287(g) program or the guidelines that participating police departments must follow, thereby creating confusion and mismanagement. Furthermore, ICE has not demonstrated effective oversight of the 67 partnership agreements and 950 officers who have been trained, potentially resulting in “misuse of authority.” Finally, participating police agencies have not consistently documented their activities, making it impossible to measure the success or failure of the program, or to justify the high costs associated with it.
Statement by Angela Kelley, Director of the Immigration Policy Center:
“The GAO report is sounding an alarm we’re confident the Homeland Security Secretary will hear. The report echoes the conclusions reached by others who have studied local law enforcement of immigration laws. The costs of these policies are enormous to communities’ safety, civil rights, and pocketbooks. As Secretary Napolitano and her staff begin their review of immigration enforcement tactics, we urge them to consider the totality of evidence coming from the community and acknowledge the full scope of the problems presented by 287(g). We are confident that this administration will find a new way forward and advance policies that restore the rule of law and respect civil rights.”
Other 287(g) Research and Information:
Two other recently released reports examine the community impact of these ICE-local partnerships and provide detailed analyses of the mistakes, racial profiling, and fear resulting from inept implementation of a program which was designed to target criminals, but has instead been used to target the Latino community as a whole:
* Local Democracy on ICE: Why State and Local Governments Have No Business in Federal Immigration Law Enforcement by Justice Strategies.
The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Laws: 287(g) Program in North Carolina, by the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation and the Immigration and Human Rights Policy Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
IPC’s latest publication demonstrates that many law-enforcement officials have opposed taking on the role of immigration agent because doing so destroys their relationship with the communities they are supposed to serve and protect.
Debunking the Myth of “Sanctuary Cities”: Community Policing Policies Protect American Communities.
Additionally, the Chatham County North Carolina Board of Commissioners recently issued a statement, reported by the Chatham Journal, opposing county participation in the 287(g) program because it is ineffective in crime prevention, increases the risk of racial profiling, and is unnecessary because local law enforcement already has the authority to fight crime. The Board concluded that “the federal government’s immigration policy has been a failure and is dysfunctional. We believe that it is wrong to pass that failure on to local governments, which are not equipped to handle federal immigration laws.”
Via / The Sanctuary