GAO Report Adds To Bevy of Analysis Revealing Deficiencies of 287(g) Program

Washington D.C.

Today the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its

congressionally commissioned report on the 287(g) program. The

Government’s review of this program, which deputizes local

law-enforcement officers to act as immigration enforcement agents,

confirms what community members and criminal-justice experts have been

saying for some time: the program is not being used to target dangerous

criminals, and there has not been adequate federal oversight of the

local police departments participating in the program.
 
Findings of GAO Report: 
The

GAO report found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

(ICE) has not clearly articulated the objectives of the 287(g) program

or the guidelines that participating police departments must follow,

thereby creating confusion and mismanagement. Furthermore, ICE has not

demonstrated effective oversight of the 67 partnership agreements and

950 officers who have been trained, potentially resulting in “misuse of

authority.”  Finally, participating police agencies have not

consistently documented their activities, making it impossible to

measure the success or failure of the program, or to justify the high

costs associated with it.
 
Statement by Angela Kelley, Director of the Immigration Policy Center:
 
“The

GAO report is sounding an alarm we’re confident the Homeland Security

Secretary will hear. The report echoes the conclusions reached by

others who have studied local law enforcement of immigration laws. The

costs of these policies are enormous to communities’ safety, civil

rights, and pocketbooks. As Secretary Napolitano and her staff begin

their review of immigration enforcement tactics, we urge them to

consider the totality of evidence coming from the community and

acknowledge the full scope of the problems presented by 287(g). We are

confident that this administration will find a new way forward and

advance policies that restore the rule of law and respect civil rights.”
 
Other 287(g) Research and Information:
 
Two

other recently released reports examine the community impact of these

ICE-local partnerships and provide detailed analyses of the mistakes,

racial profiling, and fear resulting from inept implementation of a

program which was designed to target criminals, but has instead been

used to target the Latino community as a whole: 

IPC’s latest publication demonstrates

that many law-enforcement officials have opposed taking on the role of

immigration agent because doing so destroys their relationship with the

communities they are supposed to serve and protect.

Additionally, the Chatham County North Carolina Board of Commissioners recently issued a statement, reported by the Chatham Journal,

opposing county participation in the 287(g) program because it is

ineffective in crime prevention, increases the risk of racial

profiling, and is unnecessary because local law enforcement already has

the authority to fight crime. The Board concluded that “the federal

government’s immigration policy has been a failure and is

dysfunctional. We believe that it is wrong to pass that failure on to

local governments, which are not equipped to handle federal immigration

laws.”

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