Federal immigration entanglement with local law enforcement has disastrous impact on Black, Brown communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Efrén C. Olivares, Deputy Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Immigrant Justice Project, released the following statement in response to the recent comments made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging local law enforcement to engage in “apprehension and removal” activities at the behest of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),
“The very day Secretary Mayorkas made his remarks, we filed our latest in a sadly long line of lawsuits, seeking redress from the disastrous impact of the practice of entangling state and local police officers in immigration enforcement. This time, as in many of the cases resulting from untrained local law enforcement engaging in federal immigration enforcement, a legal permanent resident was wrongly detained. These agreements, policies and practices erode trust in local police and make our communities less safe.
“SPLC urges the Biden Administration to fulfill its campaign promise and cancel all Trump-era 287(g) agreements, not enter into any further agreements, and end the 287(g) program in its entirely, along with other entanglement programs including Basic Ordering Agreements and Warrant Service Officer programs.
“It is disappointing that rather than working to curb these dangerous practices, Sec. Mayorkas has encouraged them when it has been clear for so long that they lead to racial profiling, result in constitutional violations, shatter the public trust, and undermine public safety. To say the least, this is inconsistent with his call to "champion our identity as a nation of immigrants" and other promises made by this administration.”
Jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements shift resources away from law enforcement priorities and towards immigration enforcement via the staff time and salary used to inquire into immigration status, respond to ICE inquiries, collect data for ICE, or notify ICE about timing of a detained person’s release. ICE does not reimburse any of these costs, so the participating county must cover those costs.
Not only is this an expensive and unwieldy program, it widens the door to racial profiling. ICE’s influence in the criminal legal system undermines efforts to reduce biased policing. Local police access to immigration enforcement duties incentivizes racial profiling. When police officers know that an arrest can lead to immigration detention, they are more likely to stop or arrest people they perceive to be “foreign.” This affects people of color disproportionately.