DHS Report Confirms Serious Civil Rights Problems With Local Immigration Enforcement Program

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Claire O’Brien, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

DHS Report Confirms Serious Civil Rights Problems With Local Immigration Enforcement Program

ACLU Calls For Immediate Termination Of ICE 287(g) Program

WASHINGTON - A report from the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) reveals
several critical problems surrounding Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s (ICE) 287(g) program, which allows certain state and local
law enforcement agencies to engage in federal immigration enforcement
activities.

 
The
American Civil Liberties Union has strongly opposed the 287(g) program,
believing it has led to illegal racial profiling and civil rights abuses
while diverting scarce resources from traditional local law enforcement
functions and distorting immigration enforcement priorities. The OIG
report affirms these concerns, and the ACLU calls for the immediate
termination of the 287(g) program.
 
“The
DHS OIG report confirms in detail what the ACLU has known for many years
– that the 287(g) program, fundamentally flawed and incompetently
administered, presents serious civil rights and civil liberties problems
for U.S. citizens and immigrants,” said Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative
Counsel. “ICE has completely shirked its legal duty to train and
supervise 287(g) officers and has instead unleashed a slew of
unmonitored state and local law officers across America – many of whom
are using federal immigration authority as a cloak to engage in racial
profiling. The program should be terminated and de-funded.”
 
The
report finds lack of oversight, training and other failures in the
287(g) program and makes it clear that the program does not have
adequate safeguards against racial profiling and other civil rights
abuses. Many state and local agencies accepted for the program have a
documented history of serious allegations of constitutional violations.
 
Under
the 287(g) program, ICE has failed to:
  • establish
    appropriate performance measures and targets to determine whether
    program results are aligned with program goals;
  • develop
    guidance for supervising ICE officers;
  • provide
    adequate 287(g) program oversight;
  • establish
    a thorough review and selection process for law enforcement agencies
    requesting to participate in the 287(g) program;
  • establish
    data collection and reporting requirements to address civil rights and
    civil liberties concerns;
  • provide
    adequate 287(g) training programs;
  • provide
    accurate and honest program information to Congress and the public; and
  • standardize
    287(g) officers’ access to DHS information systems. 
“The
287(g) program, as this latest report confirms, all but abandons the
constitutional guarantees of fair treatment and due process, and
encourages racial and ethnic profiling. Immigration enforcement must
respect civil liberties, and it’s clear the current 287(g) program does
not come close,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington
Legislative Office. “The 287(g) program also undermines public safety by
exacerbating fear of the police in communities already distrustful of
law enforcement.”
 
The
report outlines how local agencies exploited the 287(g) program's
defects to engage in systemic civil rights abuses. Although an ICE fact
sheet describes how the 287(g) program does not allow state and local
agencies to perform “random street operations,” the OIG report describes
how one agency improperly engaged in “random street operations” to
target "minor offenses and violations of local ordinances," while
claiming to act under their 287(g) agreement. In addition, although
287(g) officers are only authorized to use federal immigration authority
to take people into custody as a result of violating state or local
criminal law, the OIG report found incidents of immigrants being
arrested for federal immigration violations without prior arrests on
state or local charges.
 
"The
OIG report's message is clear," said Cecillia Wang, managing attorney of
the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. "ICE can no longer stand by idly
while local agencies use their 287(g) agreements as cover to engage in
the rampant abuse of people's constitutional rights. People in 287(g)
communities should have the right to go about their business without
being stopped for no other reason than that they 'look foreign' to a
police officer."
 
The
Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General’s report is
available at: www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIG_10-63_Mar10.pdf
 
The
ACLU's submitted testimony on the 287(g) program can be found at: www.aclu.org/immigrants/gen/39062leg20090304.html

 

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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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