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United Fort Worth (UFW) members gather in Front of the Fort Worth Club to Voice Their Opposition
March 8, 2018
Photos by A. Govea
UFW Images by UFW

Daniel Garcia Rodriguez along with United Fort Worth (UFW) members gather in front the Fort Worth Club to voice their opposition to 287g. 287g is a law that allows local police officers to collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws.

Below is a Fact Sheet provided by United Fort Worth

What is 287(g) and how does it work?

  • The 287(g) program is named for Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • Section 287(g) became law as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
  • Through the 287(g) program, state and local police officers collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws.

Section 287(g) of the INA allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into formal written agreements with state or local police departments and deputize selected state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration agents. The Memorandas of Agreement (MOAs) are negotiated between DHS and the local authorities and include delegation of authority to a limited number of police officers (under the supervision of Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Who can be deputized and what training do deputized officers receive?

  • Officers must be U.S. citizens. They are only required to have one year of law enforcement experience.
  • Officers deputized under the program complete a four-week Immigration Authority Delegation Program.
  • The training teaches officers how to access immigration databases, complete immigration forms, and otherwise carry out the functions of federal immigration agents. They receive some training on civil rights, outreach and complaint procedures and the limitations of 287(g) agreements.
  • Deputized officers must receive a refresher training every two years.

What are deputized officers authorized to do?
In general, deputized officers are authorized to:

  • Interview individuals to ascertain their immigration status.
  • Check DHS databases for information on individuals.
  • Issue immigration detainers to hold individuals until ICE takes custody.
  • Enter data into ICE’s database and case management system.
  • Issue a Notice to Appear (NTA), the official charging document that begins the removal process.
  • Make recommendations for voluntary departure in place of formal removal proceedings.
  • Make recommendations for detention and immigration bond.
  • Transfer noncitizens into ICE custody.

What are the risks of a 287(g) agreement?

  • 287(g) agreements make communities more vulnerable to racial profiling. An investigation by the Department of Justice concluded that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona engaged in a pattern and practice of constitutional violations, including racial profiling of Latinos, after entering a 287(g) agreement.
  • Latino drivers in some parts of Maricopa County were up to nine times more likely to be stopped than non-Latino drivers.
  • A separate DOJ investigation concluded that the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina engaged in a pattern and practice of constitutional violations by unlawfully detaining and arresting Latinos.
  • Latino drivers there were up to ten times more likely to be stopped at checkpoints than non-Latino drivers. And Latino drivers were often arrested for traffic violations for which non-Latino drivers received only citations.

Does 287(g) cost local taxpayers?
Yes. State and local governments have to pay the majority of costs associated with a 287(g) program including travel, housing and per diem for officers during training.
Local agencies are also responsible for salaries, overtime, and other personnel costs. Some of the costs of detention may be reimbursed by the federal government through the State Criminal Alien Assistance program (SCAAP). However, the federal government has never fully funded SCAAP and reimbursements only cover a fraction of the costs spent by states and localities (according to the American Immigration Council).

  • According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the first year of operating the 287(g) program in Mecklenburg County, North Caroline, cost a total of $5.3 million. In Alamance County, Arizona, the first full year of operation cost $4.8 million.
  • The Brookings Institute found that Prince William County, Virginia, had to raise property taxes and take money from its “rainy day” fund to implement its 287(g) program.

Why does Tarrant County have a voluntary 287(g) agreement?

  • Tarrant County’s participation in the 287(g) program is voluntary.
  • On January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that included measures to ramp up 287(g) agreements nationwide. Since then, there has been a sharp expansion of 287(g) agreements.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) now has 287(g) agreements with more than 60 law enforcement agencies compared to 32 by the end of 2016. The largest share of those are with agencies in Texas.
  • The current administration is using local law enforcement to expand their deportation task force, and Tarrant County chose to participate.

Does 287(g) make Tarrant County safer?

  • A comprehensive analysis of the 287(g) program by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) found that it did not target serious criminal offenders. Half of all detainers issued through the program were for people who had committed misdemeanors and traffic offenses.
  • Additionally, a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that 287(g) agreements in the state were primarily used to target offenders who posed no threat to public safety or individuals with no criminal record.
  • MPI also found that the 287(g) program can be a tool for localities pursuing anti-immigrant agendas. Sheriffs can use the program to meet political goals to maintain elected office.
  • The availability of resources and detention space also determines how the 287(g) program is utilized. A large detention capacity allows for more resources to be spent on individuals who are not high priority criminals. Tarrant County is the largest county in Texas with a 287(g) agreement.

Why is United Fort Worth launching a campaign to rescind Tarrant County’s 287(g) agreement?

  • In the past, the 287(g) program has been costly for local agencies, has not focused on serious criminals and has harmed the relationship between police and local communities.
  • The Tarrant County Commissioners Court voted to authorize entering into the 287(g) agreement without any public discussion. Concerned members of the community were denied an opportunity to be informed of the agreement or provide citizen input. 
  • The agreement has increased local taxpayer expense, tasks local law enforcement authorities with fulfilling federal responsibilities, and allows deportation activity to occur without transparency.
  • Officers are only required to have a year of law enforcement experience and are only partially trained in immigration enforcement. Concerns exist that the training they receive is inadequate and can lead to issues such as civil rights violations.
  • ICE does not provide sufficient guidance, direction or supervision of 287(g) programs. A report by the DHS Office of Inspector General in 2010 found that the program was poorly supervised by ICE.
  • This is a voluntary program that harms vulnerable communities in Tarrant County by separating families. Separation from a parent is one of the forms of trauma known as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). Aces are traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Children who experience ACEs are at greater risk of issues such as depression, suicide, substance use and becoming victims of domestic abuse.

Can Tarrant County rescind its 2879(g) agreement?

Yes. Once a 287(g) agreement is entered, it may be terminated at any time by either party.

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