Finding: Training Police to Enforce Immigration Law Doesn’t Make Communities Safer

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has issued an " Immigration Fact Check" entitled "What Happens When Local Cops Become Immigration Agents?" The report concludes that 287(g) programs can be very costly to police departments. For instance, three months after Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopia County partnered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the office created a $1.3 million deficit. By the end of the first month of the partnership, deputies began working 4,500 extra hours every two-week pay period (compared to 2,900 extra hours previously). In April 2007, deputies worked more than 9,000 overtime hours at a cost to the county of $373,757.

The report notes that staffing the immigration beat pulls police officers away from their other duties. In Maricopa County in 2006 and 2007, patrol cars arrived late two-thirds of the time on more than 6,000 of the most serious calls for service. In order to staff the immigration team, Sheriff Arpaio pulled deputies off patrol beats and used them to staff the human-smuggling unit. Every patrol district lost deputies. Armed with fewer deputies, the districts’ response times to emergency calls increased.

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