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Update: 67 287(g) Agreements Signed or Pending

October 22, 2009 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

Following up on our recent post about the new Memorandums of Agreement ICE had drafted to govern the 287(g) program: On October 16, ICE announced that it had standardized 287(g) agreements with 67 state and local law enforcement entities. Not all had been signed.  As of October 19, 10 were pending approval by the local governing body. 


In the ICE Press Release to announce the agreements, Secretary Napolitano is quoted as saying that,


“These new agreements promote public safety by prioritizing the identification and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and ensure consistency and stronger federal oversight of state and local immigration law enforcement efforts across the nation.”


DHS has a certain credibility problem here.  One of the agreements they signed is an agreement with the Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff’s Office, led by Joe Arpaio, who has a pretty well publicized reputation for flagrant violation of rules laid out in his new Memorandum of Agreement.  Arpaio’s newly-signed agreement gives his officers the power to “exercise their immigration-related authorities only” while assigned to the county jails.  Despite the agreement he has signed, Arpiao has said he will continue to conduct the immigration sweeps for which his department has become notorious.  For example in this interview with talk show host Glenn Beck, Arpaio said that he believed the law allows him to go after people based on their speech and appearance.


"If local law enforcement comes across some people that have a erratic or scared or whatever... you know... that they're worried and that they have their speech, what they look like, if they just look like they came from another country, we can take care of that situation."


Oh boy.  With partners like Sheriff Joe, it is not hard to understand why more than more than 500 organizations recently signed on to a letter to the Obama administration calling for an end to the 287(g) program.


Agreements have been signed or provisionally approved in Alabama (2), Arkansas (4), Arizona (9), California (1), Colorado (2), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Georgia (5), Maryland (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (8), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (2), Texas (3), Utah (2), Virginia (9).  All agreements for which there has been final approval can be obtained here.


Six jurisdictions that had previously enrolled in the 287(g) program decided not to sign the new agreement.


Meanwhile, there is a growing movement by law enforcement entities to resist cooperation with the federal government to enforce immigration laws.  On October 22, current and former law enforcement officers participating in the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative held a press conference to call for comprehensive immigration reform.  These officers and others are concerned that when local enforcement agencies become involved in enforcing immigration laws, public safety suffers.  Arturo Venegas, retired Chief of Police of Sacramento and now Project Director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, summed up this sentiment well:


“We can’t have an officer on every corner so that we may feel safe, but we can expect every citizen to be our eyes and ears.  When members of the community are afraid of the police, it is counterproductive to our mission of public safety and national security.  Not calling the police because of a fear of deportation allows further victimization and harms public safety.”


On the same day, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network held a protest outside of ICE headquarters to protest the new 287(g) agreements and the signing of the agreement with Arpaio.


The claim that 287(g) agreements “promote public safety by prioritizing the identification and removal of dangerous criminal aliens” is a claim that is getting harder to believe. 

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