Sunday, February 19, 2012

The end of 287(g)?

The budget proposal for the Department of Homeland Security shows that the Obama administration plans to reduce the 287(g) program in favor of Secure Communities, and it is reasonable to believe they will eventually phase it out. From page 101 of the budget proposal:

FY 2013 Major Decreases:
• Realignment and Reduction of 287(g)…………………………………..-$17.0M (-24 FTE)
This request reduces the 287(g) program as Secure Communities reaches nationwide
deployment in FY 2013. The Secure Communities screening process is more cost effective
in identifying and removing criminal aliens and other priority aliens than the officer-focused
287(g) model. Proposed funding reductions in FY 2013 will impact the 287(g) jurisdictions
with the lowest criminal identifications.

And from page 16:

287(g) Program: In light of the nationwide activation of the Secure Communities program,
the Budget reduces the 287(g) program by $17 million. The Secure Communities screening
process is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal
and other priority aliens. To implement this reduction in 2013, ICE will begin by
discontinuing the least productive 287(g) task force agreements in those jurisdictions where
Secure Communities is already in place and will also suspend consideration of any requests
for new 287(g) task forces.

This seems mostly a question of labeling. From page 15:

Secure Communities: The FY 2013 Budget includes funding to complete nationwide deployment in FY 2013 of the Secure Communities program which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal and other priority aliens found in state prisons and local jails. Secure Communities is an important tool in ICE’s efforts to focus its immigration enforcement resources on the highest priority individuals who pose a threat to public safety or national security. While we continue to focus our resources on our key priorities, DHS is committed to ensuring the Secure Communities program respects civil rights and civil liberties. To that end, ICE is working closely with law enforcement agencies and stakeholders across the country to ensure the program operates in the most effective manner possible. We have issued guidance regarding the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in appropriate cases, including in cases involving witnesses and victims of crime, and implemented enhanced training for state and local law enforcement regarding civil rights issues related to the program, among other recent improvements.

This has the same goal, namely to connect federal and local law enforcement for the purposes of deporting criminal undocumented immigrants who end up in local jails.

Some local law enforcement, including near me in Gaston County, aren't happy about the reduction. Since the federal-local connection will remain, the concern may stem from the explicit mention of cutting funding to 287(g) jurisdictions that didn't find many criminals. The purpose of these programs is to find criminals, not simply to deport lots of people, and so if you didn't as many criminals as other jurisdictions then you won't get any more money.

Given the administration's proven commitment to deporting more people than ever before in history, I would be very surprised if the phasing out of 287(g) reduced that commitment.


Jeny 2:01 AM  

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