A GAO report released Tuesday night exposed some major flaws in the 287(g) program, according to the Washington Post. The report said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E), the overseer of the program, intended for 287(g) to be a plan to identify serious criminal offenders who are illegal immigrants and who needed to be removed from the country.
Some of the 67 jurisdictions who have trained for 298(g) with ICE are using 287(g) as a way to harass immigrants and to put ice detainers on individuals stopped for minor infractions like urinating in public and open alcohol containers, contrary to the objectives of the program.
In Prince William County and elsewhere, 287(g) has proved a lightning rod for critics who charge that communities are using it to intimidate and that it 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.
Prince William County was not mentioned as one of the jurisdictions who violated the intent of the program by harassing minor offenders,
*Although the GAO report noted that many local authorities said the program had helped make their communities safer, the authors found that ICE, the agency that administers 287(g), has failed to provide its state and local partners with clearly defined objectives for the program or to create a consistent system for supervising them.
The authors warned that confusion over the purpose of 287(g) could result in referrals of a “unmanageable number” of low-priority illegal immigrants to ICE as well as “misuse of authority” by local officials.
According to the report, one sheriff said that his understanding of his authority was that “287(g)-trained officers could go to people’s homes and question individuals regarding their immigration status even if the individual is not suspected of criminal activity.”
“Although it does not appear that any officers used the authority in this manner,” the report continued, “it is illustrative of the lack of clarity regarding program objectives and the use of 287(g) authority by participating agencies.”
This sounds like a situation that needs immediate oversight. Most of us here at Anti have supported the 287(g) program because we want dangerous criminals removed from our community. We have trusted Chief Deane and ADC Superintendent Pete Meletis to do the right thing.