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February 27, 2009

If 287g was a failure in AZ with 1,434 people arrested; in Nashville over 6,000 have been arrested?

Report: ICE program used by Arpaio a failure
by Daniel González - Feb. 26, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

"Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's continuing and controversial crackdown on illegal immigration and the federal program that lets him identify and arrest undocumented immigrants is a financial and public-safety failure, according to a new report.

The program, known as 287 (g), has been touted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a public-safety measure aimed at removing criminal illegal immigrants. But the Sheriff's Office and other participating agencies have focused on easy targets such as traffic violators and day laborers who pose little threat, says the report by Justice Strategies, a non-profit nonpartisan research group based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Justice Strategies is a New York-based nonprofit research group that focuses on humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration law enforcement.

Arpaio defended his participation in the program, which he said has led to the identification of thousands of illegal immigrants.
Though ICE touts the nearly 8-year-old program as a money saver, Arizona taxpayers are footing a greater share of the bill for enforcing immigration laws, usually the responsibility of the federal government, according to the report to be released today. Enforcing immigration laws detracts local police from their primary job of fighting crime and keeping neighborhoods safe, the report says, and race, not crime, has fueled the program's growth in Phoenix and other areas of the country with growing Latino populations.

"It had enough time to prove itself, and it failed," said Aarti Shahani, a researcher with the Justice Strategies group who co-authored the report. "The immigration system is broken, and 287 (g) is not the way to fix it. It's like pouring water into a cup that is broken, and the water keeps leaking out. It isn't doing anything to solve the problem."

The report concludes by recommending that the Obama administration terminate the program, which was created under the Clinton administration but wasn't promoted until after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, under the Bush administration.

The report comes amid growing opposition to Arpaio's immigration crackdowns. The National Day Labor Organizing Network, Somos America and other pro-immigrant groups plan to hold demonstrations on Friday and Saturday in Phoenix and other parts of the country calling for an end to the crackdowns.

Less than two weeks ago, four key Democratic members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate complaints that since Arpaio signed a 287 (g) agreement with ICE in 2007, deputies have unconstitutionally used skin color to look for illegal immigrants as part of a series of crime sweeps and work-site raids. The four Democrats also asked for Napolitano, the former Arizona governor, to terminate Arpaio's agreement if any problems can't be fixed.

Arpaio this week sent a letter to the four Democrats, including U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, saying that his office is abiding by the agreement and inviting them to come see the program for themselves.

Despite the criticism, polls show that Arpaio's crackdowns have broad public support. In November, he was re-elected to his fifth four-year term.

Under the 287 (g) program, Maricopa County sheriff's deputies have arrested 1,434 people for immigration violations, often after they had been encountered by deputies investigating state crimes, Arpaio said.

Michael Keegan, a spokesman for Homeland Security, said the Justice Strategies report would be reviewed.

"The department takes very seriously any allegations of civil-rights abuses, and Secretary Napolitano is undertaking a broad review of all immigration programs, including the 287 (g) agreements," he said.
ICE credits the program with identifying more than 70,000 people suspected of being in the country illegally.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and author of the 287 (g) program, defended it.
"It is astonishing that anyone would want to end a successful, voluntary program that protects American communities from criminal illegal immigrants," Smith said".

Posted by VisaLawyer at February 27, 2009 07:20 AM

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