Napolitano’s Increased Immigration Enforcement Plans Raise Civil Liberties Concerns

For Immediate Release


Maria Archuleta, (202) 715-0801 or (212) 549-2666;

Napolitano’s Increased Immigration Enforcement Plans Raise Civil Liberties Concerns

NEW YORK - Raising
serious civil liberties concerns, Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a speech in El Paso, Texas on
Tuesday that DHS plans to augment border security resources and expand
the 287(g) program, under which state and local law enforcement
agencies gain federal immigration enforcement authority. The plans also
include expanding the use of E-Verify, discounting serious problems
with the flawed database that some employers use to check on employees’
eligibility to work in the United States.

The following can be attributed to Emily Carey, program coordinator of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights:

"While Secretary Napolitano
recognized that southwest border security cannot be managed as a
discrete entity, border enforcement continues to increase in the
absence of comprehensive immigration reform. Increases in resources for
enforcement have not been matched by a proportional increase in
resources for appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms.
Without such mechanisms, the potential for further erosion of civil
liberties for border communities increases."

The following can be attributed to ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project staff attorney Omar Jadwat:

“Secretary Napolitano’s plans to
increase the use of the 287(g) program and to encourage employers to
use the flawed E-Verify database will not stem the flow of undocumented
immigration, but they will endanger Americans’ fundamental liberties.

“Although Secretary Napolitano
acknowledges that the 287(g) program lacked accountability and did not
appropriately prioritize enforcement under the Bush administration, she
fails to recognize that the new standardized 287(g) agreement DHS has
recently announced has no mechanisms to address those flaws.  What the
program did in the past and will continue to do is endanger public
safety and encourage civil rights abuses. The program’s fundamental
problem - then and now - is that it puts local police in the business
of federal immigration enforcement, making it more difficult for police
to do their jobs, increasing the likelihood of racial profiling and
putting everyone’s safety at risk.

“Napolitano’s support for E-Verify,
an intrusive verification system that relies on massive and inaccurate
databases, is also unwise. E-Verify already undermines the privacy of
American workers, leads to discrimination against those who look or
sound ‘foreign’ and imposes new burdens on authorized workers,
including U.S. citizens. If every employer used E-Verify, hundreds of
thousands of authorized workers would initially be rejected by the
database and would have to try to convince federal government
bureaucrats to take them off the ‘no work list.’

“Americans must not trade in our
freedoms for quick ‘fixes’ that ultimately do nothing to improve our
broken immigration system. E-Verify and the 287(g) program merely
saddle taxpayers and businesses with enormous costs in a time of
economic crisis.”

Secretary Napolitano’s speech can be found online at:

The new standardized 287(g)
memorandum of agreement (MOA), Maricopa County's MOA and the ACLU
side-by-side comparison of the two can be found at:

The ACLU's submitted testimony on the 287(g) program can be found at:

The ACLU’s position on E-Verify can be found at:



The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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