Urban-Rural divide becomes more stark in 287(g) program

And it's increasingly a Republican-led effort:

The sheriffs who joined the program were overwhelmingly small-town or suburban and Republican, Stateline found, though not all counties have partisan races for sheriff. The only urban counties to join were those encompassing Fort Worth, Texas, and Knoxville, Tennessee. None of the new sheriffs to join the program ran as a Democrat in the general election. There were no new 287(g) agreements with city police agencies, which generally aren’t elected positions and usually are not in charge of jails as are county sheriffs.

The expansion came so fast that it caused administrative problems; U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) didn’t hire enough new managers to oversee the new programs and train sheriff’s deputies, according to an Inspector General report in September.

Bolding mine, because that lack of training and oversight is a recipe for an authoritarian nightmare. The 287(g) program is supposed to be "incidental" in nature; local law enforcement are only supposed to check someone's immigration status *after* a suspect has been arrested for other crimes. In the absence of a manager to review and sign off on "charging documents" that provide the legal basis for initiating the deportation, the likelihood of racial profiling increases. And it also makes our streets more dangerous because it discourages the reporting of crimes, even violent ones:

Studies have found that when local law enforcement becomes entangled with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws, public safety and community trust suffer. A recent survey by University of California, San Diego’s Tom K. Wong—who is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress—examined behavioral change in the undocumented Mexican immigrant population based on whether individuals knew that local law enforcement worked with ICE. Respondents who were told that local law enforcement worked with ICE were 61 percent less likely to report crimes that they witnessed and 43 percent less likely to report being the victim of a crime than those who were told that local law enforcement was not working with ICE. These findings echo a 2012 survey that found that 44 percent of Latinos—regardless of immigration status—were less likely to contact police officers if they were victims of a crime, as they feared that they would be asked about their own or other’s immigration status. When the 2012 survey looked solely at undocumented residents, the percentage increased to 70 percent.

When Rita Cote, a resident of Lake County, Florida—a jurisdiction that had a 287(g) agreement—called the police to report that her sister was the victim of domestic violence by her then-boyfriend, Rita was ultimately arrested and detained miles away from her husband and children, who were all U.S. citizens. Eventually, she was released and reunited with her family. However, Danny Sigui, an immigrant from Guatemala living in Providence, Rhode Island, was deported after he helped convict a murderer by providing key testimony. Before being deported, Sigui was asked if he would have come forward had he known that it would lead to his deportation. He replied, “If I had known they would take my liberty, that they would take my children away from me, that they would put me [in immigration detention], I would not do this.” And while Providence County itself did not have a 287(g) agreement, Danny Sigui’s case shows the pitfalls of entangling local police with federal immigration enforcement.

Just an added note about that urban-rural issue: A large percentage of agricultural workers have legitimate Visas, and they provide a critical service in caring for and harvesting much of our food. But they also live in these very same counties signing on with ICE's 287(g) program, so the next time you go shopping in the grocery store, take a good look at those vegetables, and their prices. Because that may just be a fond memory in the days ahead.

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