The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Groups Demand Obama Terminate Controversial Program Allowing State and Local Police to Act as Immigration Agents

521 Organizations Send Letter to White House Condemning 287(g) program for Causing Racial Profiling and Endangering Public Safety


521 local and national organizations, including the Center for
Constitutional Rights, signed a letter delivered to President Obama on
Aug. 25 demanding the administration terminate the 287(g) program
granting state and local law enforcement agencies federal immigration
enforcement authority. According to the groups, the program, a legacy
of the Bush administration, has caused serious civil and human rights
abuses, including racial profiling, and endangers public safety.

"The Obama administration has responded to documented violations within
the 287(g) program by expanding it and creating an illusory complaint
process," said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National
Immigration Law Center . "Ostracizing potential victims of and
witnesses to crime and providing them with a disincentive to trust the
authorities will make all our communities less safe."

Local organizations that signed the letter will host vigils, marches,
and other activities across the country starting Thursday, Aug. 27 to
voice their discontent with the administration's decision to expand the
287(g) program despite evidence that it makes immigrant communities and
the general public more vulnerable and less safe. Since its inception,
the 287(g) program has drawn sharp criticism from federal officials,
law enforcement, community groups, and press reports that charge the
program has caused Latinos and other minority groups to be stopped or
arrested because of their appearance or accent, resulted in the
wrongful detention of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents,
failed to meet the federal government's own objectives or to set
priorities in immigration enforcement, and interfered with local law
enforcement's ability to implement sound community policing practices
designed to ensure public safety.

"The 287(g) program encourages civil rights abuses and makes it more
difficult for police to do their primary job of fighting crime,
endangering public safety for everyone," said Carlos Garcia, a Phoenix
community organizer with the Macehualli day labor center. "I hope
President Obama, as a former community organizer, will recognize that
in defense of their civil rights, immigrant communities have organized
around the country in opposition to this failed experiment of the Bush

For more information about local activities to protest the 287(g) program, please contact Sarahi Uribe at 202-285-9673.

To view a complete list of the 521 organizations that signed onto the letter to President Obama click here.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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