Bill Would Block Feds from Enlisting Local, State Police in Immigration Enforcement
Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has authored legislation that would stop state and local law enforcement from being deputized by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to pursue undocumented immigrants. The legislation targets a provision of immigration law, section “287(g)”, that permits the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into Memorandums of Agreement with state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration agents.
“Local police resources should be used to pursue dangerous criminals, not implement unjust anti-immigrant policies that tear families apart,” said Velázquez. “My bill would put an end to this practice once and for all and ensure local police are not accomplices to this Administration’s immoral federal immigration policies.”
Since its enactment more than ten years ago, the 287(g) initiative has drawn significant criticism. Not only does the program divert law enforcement resources away from pursuing and preventing serious crimes, but many immigration advocates have said that the initiative lacks proper federal oversight. Moreover, previous investigations have found that the 287(g) program can cause racial profiling. For instance, a review by the Department of Justice of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office revealed numerous constitutional violations and racial profiling of Latinos, after the Sheriff’s Office entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with DHS to enforce immigration law.
“Immigrant communities everywhere are profoundly concerned by the direction the Trump Administration is taking and the hateful rhetoric they are hearing from Washington,” Velázquez added. “This bill will make it clear to our immigrant communities that they do not need to fear being deported or detained if they cooperate with local police, which makes us all safer.”
Velázquez’s legislation was endorsed by a range of immigration advocacy, civil rights and labor groups.
Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said, “This important legislation would undo one of the worst provisions of President Trump’s attacks on immigrants. 287(g) seeks to deputize local law enforcement officers to be immigration enforcement—which puts immigrant families in danger and makes all Americans less safe. By drawing a bright line between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement, communities will have more trust to report crimes they witness or suffer to local officers—which makes everyone safer.”
Rocio Sáenz, International Executive Vice President, SEIU, said, “The 287(g) program is a recipe for racial profiling that is set to be dramatically expanded under Trump's Executive Orders on immigration. Some police departments have used 287(g) as license to illegally target communities of color, as was documented with the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona Joe Arpaio, and we have no faith that Trump will hold local departments accountable for these discriminatory policies. If enacted, the No State Resources for Immigration Enforcement (NSRIE) Act, will make us all safer by ensuring a clearer division of labor between local police, whose job is protecting public safety, and immigration enforcement agents who are charged with deporting immigrants."
Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union, said “Eliminating the harmful 287g program is the right thing to do. When immigrant communities, regardless of immigration status, know or believe that police are involved with ICE, seeking aid from police becomes too risky. Crimes go unreported and victims go unprotected when entire communities fear the police. This is bad for everyone in our communities. We strongly support the proposed legislation so we can stop conscripting local law enforcement into being the shock troops for a broken immigration system that is being used to separate and terrorize hard-working families.”