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287 (g): The Abuse of Delegated Immigration Enforcement Authority

Racial profiling, intimidation and degrading treatment, all in the name of "the war on terror" figure as part of the bitter harvest of outsourced immigration…

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Racial profiling, intimidation and degrading treatment, all in the name of "the war on terror" figure as part of the bitter harvest of outsourced immigration enforcement.

 

The rate of detention of largely non-dangerous and non-violent immigrants is at an all-time-high of over 1,000 people every single day, including the detention for deportation of families with small children.  The recent Schiro Report published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security among its core findings stresses that only 11 percent of detained immigrants had committed violent crimes.

The vast operation speared by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through its outsourced network of state and county prisons boasts 300 detention facilities throughout the United States. 

During the gold rush of subcontracting wars and homeland security, KBR a subsidiary of ex Vice President Dick Cheney's Halliburton, secured in 2005 a non-bid contract for nearly $400 million dollars to build "temporary immigration centers".

Using state and county police to perform immigration enforcement will cost $394 million dollars in FY 2009 alone, through a federal grant program known as State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).

Suddenly the tide of bigotry in 'law enforcement' clothing seems to be turning. The whirlpool spun after 9/11 in the name of the 'war of terror' was made possible by Section 287 (g) added to the Illegal Immigration Reform Act, which provided for the delegation of immigration enforcement authority to state and local enforcement agencies.

The tide is changing thanks to a far more decent, civil and overall more humane approach.  The standards spell out clearer terms of the agreement with state and local authorities set out by Homeland Security to prevent the blatant abuses that turned an immigration issue into a brutal witch-hunt of fathomed extremely dangerous aliens.

In March 2009 the Washington Post reported on such problems and echoed critics who charged that such delegated immigration powers "can lead to a form of profiling in which officers stop individuals who appear Latino or foreign on the pretext of minor violations in order to check their immigration status."

A GAO report published also in March 2009 warned that confusion over the purpose of 287(g) could result in referrals of an "unmanageable number" of low-priority immigrants to ICE as well as "misuse of authority".

Secretary Napolitano announced in July of 2009 that the terms of use of Section 287(g) would we standardized in order to focus on "dangerous criminal aliens" ensuring that all "state and local law enforcement partners are using the same standards."  One key requirement to avoid the use of this section as a mere excuse to carry out racial profiling is that such authorities will be required to "pursue all criminal charges that originally caused the offender to be taken in custody."  Finally the new standards introduce measures to render such authorities accountable.

Only three months later one such abuser of Section 287(g) Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, identified by a New York Times' editorial, as "the publicity-obsessed star of a Fox reality show and the self-appointed scourge of illegal immigrants," would denigrate immigrants by marching them down the streets in pink striped uniforms to serve as a public spectacle contrary to basic human rights and constitutional precepts.

Now the exhibitionist Arpaio has been stripped of some of his power to enforce immigration law, and claims federal officials offered no explanation why, seemingly unaware of the plethora of reports indentifying human rights abuses and the change in federal government policy.

As a nation we have been not immune to abuse and corruption: Judges in Pennsylvania took millions in bribes to fill out privatized prisons with inmates; former corporate chief officers and shareholders take charge of the nation and favor their former employers with million dollar contracts to build border fences and immigration detention centers; enforcement agencies unashamedly practice racial profiling, and human degradation abusing their authority and squander the limited resources for public safety cowardly fighting against the weak and allowing real crime to grow rampant.

The tide seems to be changing, we urge the authorities not to abdicate their responsibilities to fight real violent and dangerous crime, and the honor their duty to respect their fellow human beings, whether alien or not.

 

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