Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Human Rights > Department of Homeland Security should revoke the 287(g) program until there is immigration reform

Department of Homeland Security should revoke the 287(g) program until there is immigration reform

LatinaLista — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not a happy camper these days.

It seems the federal government has had enough of the complaints lobbed against Arpaio’s use of the government’s 287(g) program, which authorizes local law enforcement to enforce immigration policy.


With his infamous “immigration sweep” operations, Arpaio has been accused of abusing the 287(g) program to the extent of conducting witch hunts for undocumented immigrants that result in legal Latino citizens being forced to prove their citizenship status.

So, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE ) officials created a new pact with Maricopa County that they say reigns in his 287 (g) powers. However, the only difference between the new pact and the old one is that now Arpaio will have to wait until he gets those arrested back to the jail to charge them with violating immigration policy, instead of being able to arrest them on the spot.

On the one hand, it means that no longer Arpaio is allowed to use a trumped up excuse to pull somebody over to see whether or not they are in the country legally. The crime for which he stops the people has to be real and warrants being handcuffed and carted back to jail where the citizenship status would then be determined.

Sounds reasonable. In fact, it’s the way the 287(g) was originally envisioned to be implemented but Arpaio doesn’t like the change and though Maricopa County supervisors have agreed to the new pact with ICE, Arpaio has not and has said he will continue what he’s doing.

As a result, Arpaio’s actions illustrate the disregard he has for how the 287(g) should be implemented and is practicing what a new report terms “Guilty by Immigration Status.”

Guilty by Immigration Status: A report on U.S. violations of the rights of immigrant families, workers and communities in 2008 was compiled by HURRICANE, the Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network, an initiative of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR).

The report details how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has built up over the last eight years a strategy to promote the criminalization of immigration status to detain and deport persons, often for minor offenses.

Guilty by Immigration Status describes how DHS, along with other police, public officials and agencies, routinely trumped the civil rights and constitutional protections of a person in order to question, detain and/or jail them solely based on their actual or perceived immigration status.

It’s a practice prevalent with how Arpaio utilizes the 287 (g) program. A separate report lists various abuses by federal and local officials to capture and criminalize undocumented immigrants and their families.

While immigration policy must be enforced, it’s all the more important to recognize that because of an inadequate enforcement, breaches were allowed to be made. Instead of trying to make up for 20 years of bad enforcement by empowering local law enforcement to abuse the 287(g), the federal government should revoke the 287(g) from local enforcement and wait till Congress decides on immigration reform.

Revoking the 287(g) is not detrimental to enforcing our immigration policy. Federal officials would continue to do that but it will take the lure of abusing a vulnerable group of people away from those who have turned the issue into a local political platform for their own benefit with little regard for the law itself.

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  • Efrén Paredes, Jr.
    October 9, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Great post hermana. You should have seen Joe Arpaio yesterday on CNN with Rick Sanchez. This guy is absolutely ridiculous. He admitted that he detains Latino immigrants based on the way they talk and the clothes they wear, among other ridiculous reasons. He and others like him are just among some of the reasons that the 287(g) program should be eliminated.

  • cookie
    October 9, 2009 at 7:56 am

    It is imperative that we engage trained local authorities to assist in immigration enforcement. The Feds simply do not have the resources to be everywhere in every little town across America. No one’s rights are being violated and the Sheriff has never been proven guilty of not operating within the law. Just because some ethnocentrics say so, doesn’t make it so.
    So let’s see, if I broke the speed limit but rumor has it that they “might” change it to the speed I was going, I shouldn’t be fined at the time I was speeding? What kind of reasoning is this?

  • Grandma
    October 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    This is the oath of office all law enforcement officers have to take:
    I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend
    the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign
    and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
    that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or
    purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the
    duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
    Seems to me Sheriff Joe takes his oath seriously and does a darn good job doing it.

  • maryelizabeth
    October 10, 2009 at 1:33 am

    I like it when Marisa describes Arpagio’s game as a “witch hunt”. There isn’t a better way to describe what has become of the 287G program nationwide. Cops instructed to chase and arrest Immigrants for no apparent reasons except quotas for profits in a prison system. Meanwhile our streets are not protected from real crime. One day we will walk into the more updated witch museum in Salem Mass. and along with the witch trial history that took place with the hangings of innocent people on Gallow Hill…all the way to the McCarther era; we will move along to view another chapter in history where witch hunts again took place and we will see wax figures of Immigrants with a tour guide lecturing. We will look back and see how in this country we racial profiled people and tortured them in these detentions all because of “the fear minoritys would vote Democratic in the future” and for “cheap labor”. There is always a $$$$ agenda behind the political manipulations which is no different from the hanging of people in 1692 on Gallow Hill after acuseing them of being witches and stealing their land. Rather than learning from our mistakes we acknowlege what we have done on a entertaining family vacation and say that was awful and we are glad were not like that anymore. Americans are so caught up in surviving to just stay middleclass that they become nieve and uninformed to what is really happening in a system that has a clever mask from the truth. We believe we are better people then the rest and we have made the US a better country in the name of “God” meanwhile we look the other way with our Prada handbags and our Gucci tinted sunglasses while our hardworking Immigrants are being abused in our country and familys are being torn apart and Moms and Dads taken from children. Many of us believe the rhetoric that is used for political gains and the wedge issue held against Immigrants to scapegoat the solutions to the real issues so that rich 1% can continue to milk the American system. It is only when that rich 1% get so out of control that they destroy our Middleclass lifestyle we get up and try to change the system.

  • Karen
    October 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Obama can’t even protect the human rights of Americans in Arizona.

  • maryelizabeth
    October 14, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Obama is protecting the human right of Americans in Arizona. He is making sure that their familys are not split up and their children are not left motherless or fatherless in the “horror show” of a system. Good change is comming but it is a slow progressive movement. I just wish it could move faster to protect people.

  • Doris
    October 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    “Obama is protecting the human right of Americans in Arizona. He is making sure that their familys are not split up and their children are not left motherless or fatherless in the “horror show” of a system. Good change is comming but it is a slow progressive movement. I just wish it could move faster to protect people.”
    It’s interesting how Latino illegal aliens appear all too willing to abandon their children before they will keep their family together by bringing them back to their homeland. My Korean in-laws had children in this country and never even considered leaving them behind. I guess every ethnic group has its own set of ethics.

  • cookie
    October 19, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Many if not most leave their families behind in the homeland to come here also. It was their choice and no for the most part they or their families were not starving they just wanted better but at what sacrifice? You got it! At the cost of separating themselves from their families for months and even years.

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