ICE Scaling Back 287(g) Program
Apparently ICE is phasing out the task force model in favor of Secure Communities, which is already activated in most jurisdictions across the country. ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett stated, “The Secure Communities screening process, coupled with federal officers, is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal and other priority aliens.”
While the two programs are very different, Secure Communities and the task force model can be seen as redundant. All persons booked into jails have their fingerprints run against immigration databases, regardless of whether the arresting officer was a deputized 287(g) officer or not. On the other hand, the 287(g) jail model can work in combination with Secure Communities. 287(g) officers can follow up when someone receives a Secure Communities database hit, and can issue a detainer or a Notice to Appear, initiating deportation proceedings. Even if there is no database hit, 287(g) jail officers can interview persons they believe to be noncitizens and initiate immigration enforcement if appropriate.
However, there are still many problems with the 287(g) jail model. Critics of the 287(g) program have argued that it is not effective, does not target serious criminals, harms community policing efforts, and leads to racial profiling. ICE recently terminated a 287(g) program in Alamance County, NC after the Department of Justice completed a two year investigation and concluded that the sheriff’s office racially profiled Latinos. Both the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have found serious problems with the program and have made numerous recommendations, all of which have not been complied with yet.
he 287(g) program – the jail and the task force models — remains highly problematic, and many organizations are calling for it to be terminated entirely. While ICE continues to have difficulty sticking to its own priorities, the problems are enhanced when immigration enforcement is outsourced to local law enforcement agencies. Given the evidence of racial profiling and civil rights violations, and the harm to community relations and community safety that 287(g) can create, it is definitely time for ICE to make a decision about the continuation of the program.