DHS Inspector General Exposes Abuses in 287(g) Enforcement; AILA Calls For Termination of Program

On April 2, 2010 the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a comprehensive report confirming civil rights abuses in a federal program that "deputizes" state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration law. The Inspector General tells of local officers arresting individuals who have committed no offense – including even victims – for the sole purpose of identifying whether they have lawful immigration status.

In one case, a supervisor recounted how a state highway patrol officer transported an accident victim to a jail to determine the victim’s immigration status. The officer did not take him to a hospital. The victim was not even brought to the jail to be charged with a state crime. The sole -and improper–purpose of the officer’s actions was to determine whether the victim was deportable.

The Inspector General found that, under this deputizing program, some local police have launched operations with the aim of detaining individuals for minor offenses and violations of local ordinances so they could identify unauthorized immigrants. Police apprehended immigrants even when they had no prior arrests on state or local charges. The report confirms what community groups have alleged for years: that officers arrest individuals for minor offenses, such as fishing without a license or driving with broken taillight, as a pretext to initiate deportation proceedings.

The Inspector General found widespread lack of adequate training, guidance, monitoring or oversigh in so called 287(g) programst. "The report noted that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) failed to provide accurate information about the program to Congress and the public. The American Immigration Lawyers Association urges Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to immediately terminate the 287(g) program and calls upon Congress to end its funding.

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