The Obama Administration is eliminating part of a controversial program that instructs law enforcement in several states to enforce federal immigration laws.
The 287 (g) program “gives police the power to question people about their legal status, serve arrest warrants, and detain and transport criminals for immigration violations.” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the termination of the “task force” part of the program that elicits police help with street-level immigration enforcement. The programs will officially be terminated today, December 31st. ICE officials will continue to use an alternate 287 (g) program that operates within jails in the U.S.
Additionally the Obama Administration released details on the deportations in the fiscal year that ended in September. Over 409,849 individuals, the largest number ever removed from the U.S. in history, were deported. This is 3 percent higher than last year. The 287 (g) program that is being eliminated is reportedly no longer considered necessary. “ICE has concluded that other enforcement programs, including Secure Communities, are a more efficient use of resources for focusing on priority cases,” the agency said in its news release.”
As of Friday, ICE officials will not be renewing agreements with states that were previously involved with the program. These programs have benefited the states while they were implemented. “Through 287(g), state officers have focused on stopping specific crimes such as identify theft, drug trafficking, money laundering and human smuggling.”
Civil rights and immigrant groups are calling this a step in the right direction. They are calling on the government to shut down all 287 (g) programs. Many argue that they promote racial profiling, erode the trust between immigrants and law enforcement, and distract officers from other important crime-fighting duties. The American Civil Liberties Union and 161 other organization sent letters to the Obama Administration calling for an end to the programs following findings of discriminatory practices within the programs.
Negotiations will be underway with several similar programs as the President begins to tackle comprehensive immigration reform at the beginning of next year. He will have important decisions to make regarding programs such as this one and the effect they have on immigration in the nation.
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