ACLU, FIAC and FLIC Are Among 521 Organizations Nationwide to Send Letter to White House Condemning 287(g) Program for Causing Racial Profiling and Endangering Public Safety
MIAMI – 521 local and national organizations signed a letter delivered to President Obama on Aug. 26 demanding the administration terminate the 287(g) program granting state and local law enforcement agencies federal immigration enforcement authority.
The program, a legacy of the Bush Administration, has caused serious civil and human rights abuses and endangers public safety. Another problem with local police enforcing federal immigration laws is the ease with which such enforcement targets people of color, relies on race or ethnicity, or simply focuses on those who “look or sound foreign.”
Put simply, the use of local police to enforce federal immigration policy undermines public safety. “All our citizens are directly affected, whether they are immigrants or not, by these policies,” Miami Police Chief John Timoney has said. “Immigrant victims and witnesses of violent crimes will not come forward if they fear their ‘local police’ will deport them. This affects everyone as it hampers law enforcement efforts to thwart criminal activity in our neighborhoods.”
"There is a high financial and human cost when local police are tasked with enforcing federal immigration laws." said Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. "We are grateful that the Miami Dade Police Department realizes this. However, there is far more they can do to guarantee that the rights of immigrants and citizens alike can be guaranteed."
Organizations that signed the letter will host vigils, marches, and other activities across the country 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. An event is scheduled for Doral, FL on Friday, Aug. 28 at 1:30 p.m. at 9105 NW 25th St. For more information, contact: Subhash Kateel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (347)-524-3374
Since its inception, the 287(g) program has drawn sharp criticism from federal officials, law enforcement, community groups, and press reports. They charged that the program has caused Latinos and other minority groups to be stopped or arrested because of their appearance or accent, which resulted in the wrongful detention of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The program failed to meet the federal government’s own objectives or set priorities in immigration enforcement, and interfered with local law enforcement’s ability to implement sound community policing practices designed to ensure public safety.
“Why should our local police spend their resources to catch day laborers and housekeepers when they could be catching criminals that prey on our communities? Thousands of immigrants without criminal history, who pay taxes, raise U.S. citizen kids and contribute to their communities are being detained and deported under 287g. DHS is wasting billions to reel in the very people who would earn legal status under the comprehensive immigration reform that President Obama rightly envisions,” said Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.
A copy of the letter can be found here: https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/371/images/LETTER_TO_PRESIDENT_20090825133229.pdf
For more information about local activities to protest the 287(g) program, please contact Sarahi Uribe at 202-285-9673.
# # #