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
Salvador Reza of the Puente Movement responded to today's Department of Justice settlement for access to records in Sheriff Arpaio's office with the following statement.
"Nearly three years after the beginning of their investigation, the Department of Justice should be intervening in Maricopa county not just investigating. The people of Maricopa have been living with a likely criminal at the head of our law enforcement for years and it's time for relief. The County Sheriff's Office should be placed under receivership without delay. Anything less than immediate intervention in our human rights crisis makes President Obama and former Governor Napolitano accomplices in the reign of terror- and likely criminal behavior- of Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
The Department of Homeland Security which empowers Sheriff Arpaio through its ICE Access programs has recently come under fire for the expansion of Arpaio-style policies throughout the country through the "Secure Communities" program. The agency has been accused of emulating the lack of transparency and discriminatory practices under investigation in the office of Sheriff Arpaio. As a result, the DHS' spread of Arpaio-style policies is also coming under investigation by the OIG and is facing a growing call for an end to ICE Access programs that entangle local police in immigration laws. ...
With parts of HB 87 temporarily blocked, community still threatened by Governor’s appeal and already existing 287(g) and the so-called ‘secure communities’ program.
06.27.2011 Atlanta, GA. Today Judge Thrash announced a temporary and partial injunction on HB 87, enjoining sections 7 and 8 of the state law while allowing other sections to move forward. Governor Deal promptly declared his intention to appeal the decision.
Teodoro Maus of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), plaintiff in the injunction suit responded to today’s announcement saying,
“We know that the law is unconstitutional. We will continue organizing until it is erased from Georgia’s books and our community is respected in this state for all we contribute. We ask our neighbors to take this moment to correct the false image of our community that has been created for them by hate-mongering anti-immigrant efforts.”
Adelina Nicholls, executive director of GLAHR added, “The court decision is a positive step forward but our communities still face discrimination from police empowered by the Obama administration’s 287(g) and secure communities programs.
The criminalization of migrants is the wrong direction for our country regardless of whether it is state laws or federal programs propagating it. We now need an injunction on the federal level to stop programs that separate families. We need to turn toward a pathway for legalization.”
Gwinnett and Cobb counties are two of the most egregious examples of the racial profiling and discriminatory policing that occurs under federal ICE Access programs such as 287(g). HB 87 would have been an escalation of the already existing violations of civil and human rights of migrant and Latino communities in Georgia. Advocates are calling for the federal government to take a more active role in preventing implementation of HB 87, ending its own initiatives that have resulted in racial profiling and discriminatory policing, and pursuing genuine immigration reform.
GLAHR continues to call for a Day without Immigrants on July 1st and a march in recognition of the migrant community’s role in Georgia at the capitol on July 2nd. The partial injunction marks a temporary victory but dangerous segments of HB 87 are still moving forward. In that the Governor has already pledged to appeal its decision, the struggle for immigration reform and against racial bias in the state continues. ...
- July, 2008: Arpaio Sued Over Racial Profiling
- 2009 Report: Arpaio Law Enforcement Slows as Immigration Enforcement Quickens
- Feb, 2009: Arpaio Creates Outdoor Tent-City Segregated by Immigration Status
- Sept, 2010: Arpaio Uncooperative in DoJ investigation
- July 30, 2010: Arpaio Wrongfully Arrests Local Human Rights Leader
- May, 2011: Groups Call for Resignation
Link to recording of today's call: http://ndlon.org/docs/2011arpaio.mp3
Phoenix, AZ- Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice released a scathing report, confirming the “discriminatory policing practices” that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has used to terrorize the Latino community of Maricopa County for years and prompting the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the Sheriff’s 287(g) agreement and restrict his access to the controversial S-Comm program,
On a press call today, national and local leaders reacted to the reports findings, commending the investigation as a step towards serving the Latino community with the justice they so long deserve.
DOJ's announcement is no surprise to the Latino community. Arpaio has a long history of extreme enforcement tactics and discriminatory behavior. Mary Rose Wilcox, Maricopa County Supervisor, saw firsthand the type of suffering in the Latino community inflicted by Arpaio's abusive practices. "A line in the report that stands out above others is that for the past four years, the Sheriff's department has treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented. It is a sobering statement that shows how the Sheriff used anti-immigrant sentiment as a pretext to violate the civil rights of our County's residents. For three years our community has pounded the doors of elected officials to let them know this must stop. My dream is for Sheriff Arpaio to resign or be kicked out of office and for his office to be taken into receivership. Still, we feel relief today because the truth has been told about this Sheriff in a manner that cannot be denied."
Speakers also lifted up Arpaio's case as an example of the disastrous consequences of DHS policies that trample on the rights of entire communities.
Salvador Reza, Phoenix Civil Rights Leader whose wrongful arrest was cited in the DOJ report, explained, "We are happy to see Janet Napolitano's actions yesterday but I'd like to caution that it's not over. The longer Arpaio is not under receivership or indicted, the longer this will continue as a political football locally and nationally. This should be a wakeup call to DHS and for Sheriffs across the country who are using federal immigration programs to emulate Arpaio."
Randy Parraz, Co-Founder, President of Citizens for a Better Arizona, added, "Yesterday's report by the DOJ validates many of the abusive practices and policies that we have been experiencing as Latinos and critics of Sheriff Arpaio. We, Citizens for a Better Arizona, will continue to organize across the county to create the pressure needed to force Sheriff Arpaio to resign."
According to Arturo Venegas, Director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, "Every day that Arpaio focused on terrorizing immigrant and Latino communities while serious criminals roamed the streets of Maricopa County made other law enforcement officials’ jobs harder across the nation. The Department of Homeland Security should be commended for limiting its cooperation with Arpaio, but until the racial profiling and aggressive tactics he championed are no longer encouraged by state laws like Alabama’s or tacitly condoned by federal programs like Secure Communities, we have not yet eradicated his legacy of fear. Unfortunately, Arpaio has flaunted his unconstitutional tactics with such vigor that, nothing short of a federal consent decree will get him to comply DOJ requests and change his behavior.”
According to Sarahi Uribe, National Campaign Coordinator, National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network, "The DOJ report is what compelled the Department of Homeland Security to do what it should have done on former Arizona Governor Napolitano's first day on the job as head of DHS. It stripped him of his badge when it comes to immigration enforcement. Now we should learn the lessons from Arizona and deal not just with this Sheriff but with the implications of this report on a national level."
"The damning report filed in Maricopa County last week had been called for and expected for years. But what the Department of Justice report in East Haven exposes is a national epidemic of civil rights violations that must call into question the federal immigration programs that rely on local police whose enforcement practices are increasingly discriminatory. What else will it take to rethink the strategy of enlisting police as force multipliers in immigration. The recent Department of Justice actions are a warning sign to reverse course on immigration and end programs like Secure Communities immediately."