Polis: ‘287(g)’ immigration crackdown laws create ‘sweep of terror’

A federal program known as 287(g), which grants broad immigration enforcement powers to local law enforcement agencies, has resulted in a “sweep of terror,” said 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. In a floor speech today, the Boulder Democrat–who can usually be counted on to speak out in support of immigration reform–had sharp criticism for the partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

287(g) scares victims and witnesses of crimes to avoid contacting police for fear of being mistreated.  287(g) invites exploitation by those who know that they won’t be reported to police, because it combines the contradictory duties into the same police force.

What is the result? A sweep of terror that has frightened legal and undocumented immigrants into hiding, undermining both law enforcement efforts across our country.  287(g) programs undermine the spirit and text of the U.S. Constitution, and I encourage Congress to repeal 287 (g).

Polis was speaking in reaction to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) announcement last Friday that it had signed, or was in the process of signing, 67 287(g) agreements. Two of those are with Colorado agencies:  the Colorado Department of Public Safety and the El Paso Sheriff’s Office

The controversial program had previously been suspended by ICE. Critics say the program is abused by many local law enforcement agencies, and promotes racial profiling. The poster child for misuse of the program has been Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, famous for his sweeps of Latino neighborhoods and his penchant for requiring detainees to wear pink underwear (and who is, incidentally, said to be miffed about earning a modified 287(g) agreement this time around, in a nod toward his alleged abuses).

Watch the one-minute speech:

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Katie Redding

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