The Immigration Policy Center on Thursday published a study confirming faults with the 287(g) immigration program at a time when the government is subjecting it to review. Since its creation in 1996, Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act has permitted federal authorities to train state and local law enforcement agents to perform certain functions related to immigration.
These include accessing federal databases, questioning and arresting immigrants that are suspected of being in the country illegally and, above all, beginning the deportation process from the 57 detention centers where the 287(g) program is being implemented.
Due to the planned expansion of all the country’s prisons in 2013 according to the similar Secure Communities initiative, critics of 287(g) question the need to continue enforcing it.
The U.S. Justice Department investigation of Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office concluded that the department engaged in a pattern of violations of people’s constitutional rights and racial profiling against Hispanics in carrying out 287(g).
It found that Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducted immigration raids in Hispanic neighborhoods and that Latino drivers in greater Phoenix were stopped nine times more frequently than other motorists.
North Carolina has been one of the states most affected by the implementation of 287(g), given that more than 14,000 Hispanics have been deported from the city of Charlotte alone over the last six years, the majority for minor traffic infractions.
“We’ve always complained that 287(g) is a way to get rid of Hispanics simply for being immigrants,” Hector Vaca, community leader and representative of Action NC, told Efe on Thursday.
“The only positive thing I see about Secure Communities is that it returns control to the federal government for enforcing the immigration laws,” he said.
A January 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office complained that 287(g) did not fulfill its objectives of detaining and expelling criminals. On the contrary, undocumented immigrants were being deported for minor crimes and infractions.