April 2, 2010
Washington, D.C. -Today, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a long-awaited report that offers a damning critique of the 287(g) program, confirming many of the criticisms levied against the program by community leaders, law enforcement officials, and immigration groups, including the Immigration Policy Center. Despite problems with the 287(g) program, it has recently been expanded to additional jurisdictions.
The report, The Performance of 287(g) Agreements, identifies numerous shortcomings that lead to abuse and mismanagement and raises serious questions about the wisdom of state and local immigration enforcement partnerships with ICE.
According to the report, the 287(g) program:
- Is poorly managed and supervised, and ICE has not instituted controls to promote effective program operations;
- Lacks strict guidelines for implementation, which results in different implementation methods in different jurisdictions;
- Lacks an adequate and consistent vetting process for jurisdictions that apply for the program, as well as for officers applying to be deputized under the program;
- Does not gather data necessary to track how the program is being used;
- Lacks a process for reviewing Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) on a regular basis, and for modifying or terminating an MOA as necessary.
- Has not taken action against law enforcement agencies that are clearly violating the terms of the MOA, nor adequately trained deputized officers about immigration law or their authority under the MOA;
- Lacks public outreach efforts, and often provides the public with misleading or inaccurate information about the 287(g) program.
This report follows on the heels of recent revelations and reports that ICE is failing to prioritize genuine threats to the community. The Washington Post recently reported that a senior ICE official sent a memo to field offices outlining an enforcement strategy which emphasized large enforcement quotas rather than focusing on serious criminals. Similarly, the OIG found that 287(g) programs have not prioritized serious criminal immigrants, and performance standards by which local officers are evaluated focus on the number of immigrants encountered, not the seriousness of their crimes.
"The OIG report is further evidence that the Administration has yet to distinguish between deporting large numbers of immigrants and making us safe," said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. "In the rush to engage state and local law enforcement on federal immigration matters, ICE has created a program that lacks oversight, undermines community relations, and breeds mistrust. As proven time and time again, a deportation-driven strategy exacts a high toll on individuals and communities with little real impact in stopping illegal immigration."
For more information on the 287(g) program, read:
Local Enforcement of Immigration Laws Through the 287(g) Program: Time, Money, and Resources Don't Add Up to Community Safety (IPC Fact Check, April 1, 2010)
DHS Progress Report: The Challenge of Reform (IPC Special Report, March 2, 2010)