By William McCurry
WASHINGTON D.C. – More than 60 members of Congress have sent a letter to new Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Biden Administration urging the agency to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement programs in which state and local law enforcement conduct federal immigration enforcement.
The letter specifically outlines that the 287(g)/Secure Communities program, and the use of ICE detainers need to be terminated, noting ICE continues to deport immigrants, and even children, to dangerous conditions, disregarding Biden’s deportation moratorium and frustrating reform efforts.
The letter states: “The current immigration enforcement regime depends on the time and resources of local law enforcement agencies — at the expense of public safety for all and in particular for immigrant communities.
”The 287(g) and Secure Communities programs and the use of detainers turn local law enforcement agencies into a gateway to deportation, co-opt local resources into questionable, racially
discriminatory purposes, strip communities of safety and public trust, and subject localities and the federal government to liability.”
The letter was endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Immigrant Justice Center, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Indivisible, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), and United We Dream.
The senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, Naureen Shah, said that when local law enforcement works with ICE everyone is less safe.
Shaw added that the possibility of being separated from your family rises when law enforcement is contacted, so people are less likely to seek protection in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
Also, immigrant workers are afraid to get tested, vaccinated, and treated for COVID-19 in fear of being deported.
Policy attorney and strategist at the Immigration Legal Resource Center, Nithya Nathan-Pineau remarked that when local law enforcement engage in immigration enforcement it enhances the chances of discrimination such as racial profiling.
This causes substantial harm to the Black and Brown immigrant communities, Nathan-Pineau said, adding, “Ending the entanglement between the immigration system and local law enforcement is a critical step towards racial justice and equity.”
Associate director of policy at National Immigrant Justice Center, Nayna Gupta, claims that the cooperation between the federal government and local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws raises civil rights concerns.
All agree that programs involving state and local law enforcement enforcing immigration laws need to be entirely eliminated.
William McCurry is a fourth year at Sacramento State, majoring in Criminal Justice. He is from Brentwood, California.
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