The American Civil Liberties Union urged federal immigration authorities to end dozens of cooperation agreements with local law enforcement agencies that the group said have the worst records of civil rights violations, bad jails or prisons and other factors. The ACLU's Kary Moss asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to terminate "287(g)" agreements with 54 local law enforcement agencies, about a third of all agreements. The arrangements allow local police officers to conduct certain federal immigration enforcement actions. That includes making immigration arrests themselves, as well as holding people in custody past their release dates so that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can pick them up, reports Roll Call.
The ACLU and other critics of the controversial program say the agreements encourage racial profiling and encourage distrust of police within immigrant communities. The letter refers to ACLU findings of misconduct at those 54 law enforcement offices, including jails with a record of people dying in custody and instances in which sheriffs have posted anti-immigrant comments on social media referencing “illegals” and “criminal aliens.” They say these issues could be further compounded by court rulings that have struck down Mayorkas’ immigration enforcement guidance, which means a broader population of immigrants could be put on ICE’s radar. An ACLU report charged that more than half of the sheriffs participating in the cooperation program have records of making anti-immigrant comments, and nearly two-thirds of participating law enforcement agencies have a pattern of civil rights violations or racial profiling. At the end of the Obama administration, 34 local law enforcement agencies were participating in the program. By April, when the ACLU’s report was released, there were 142. The Biden administration has terminated one 287(g) deal since taking office.