Police-ICE Agreements 'Out of Control'

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LOS ANGELES -- An editorial in La Opinión calls the 287(g) agreements between local police and federal immigration authorities "out of control." Editors write that the program places a deportation license in the hands of political interests.

The program’s official goal is identifying and deporting dangerous criminals who are undocumented. But this is not what is happening. Instead, the absence of federal guidance and control has allowed the program’s implementation to be subject to local anti-immigrant pressures, editors write.

The Migration Policy Institute studied seven counties that have an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under this program, local authorities feel free to turn over to ICE detainees who have been arrested because of minor infractions like traffic violations.

In some cases, the first person to determine the legal status of a suspect is a law enforcement officer who has not been trained for this work. This results in the use of racial profiling, editors write, such as the case of Daniel Renteria-Villegas, a U.S. citizen who because of his poor English and brown skin was kept in custody for days waiting for ICE in Nashville, Tennessee.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) found in 2009 that the 287(g) program lacked controls and documented objectives. The reforms implemented by the Obama administration, editors write, did not change the lack of federal guidance that allows any undocumented immigrant to be detained using a program designed for dangerous criminals.