23 July 2009

Guest Voice: Outsourcing Immigration Enforcement Threatens Communities

Today we share a commentary by Ms. Foundation friend Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. In "Obama's Expansion of Bush-Era Immigration Tactics Endanger Us All," Hincapié calls attention to a worrisome July 10 announcement by the Obama administration that it would expand a Bush-era agreement to use local police officers in the enforcement of immigration law. This must be a call to hold decision-makers accountable to policies of justice and inclusion and to prepare for numerous challenges as Congress returns to immigration reform.

In her New America Media commentary, Hincapié writes:
Some would argue that these minor, cosmetic changes with the 287(g) program are evidence of the Obama administration’s effort to create the political space for comprehensive immigration reform. Putting the burden of immigration enforcement on overtaxed, under-funded, and untrained local law enforcement is unacceptable. The bottom line is that with or without immigration reform, giving local law enforcement agencies the authority to enforce immigration laws is foolhardy and costly.

Outsourcing immigration responsibilities to local law enforcement only makes communities more dangerous by marginalizing our most vulnerable members of society. The destruction of families, the criminalization of immigrants and people of color, and a growing distrust in a police force that needs community support to keep us safe are the wrong way to go. It’s time for President Obama to stop following in Bush’s failed footsteps, leave behind senseless immigration enforcement policies by suspending programs like 287(g), and lead the country toward achieving broad and humane immigration reform. Read full commentary

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