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Weekly Diaspora: We Can Prosper Together

by Web Team on 10/22/2009 at 11:24am

For the most part, it’s been a good week for immigration reform. The Senate approved a measure that will end the “Widow Penalty,” which rescinded applications for U.S. residency if one’s spouse of two years or less years dies, and on Tuesday, as RaceWire reports, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation that restores the right of due process to immigrant youth.

Now for the not-so good news: The U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has decided to modify, not cancel, its many 287(g) agreements, as the Colorado Independent reports. Cause for celebration on this change may not yet be warranted. The proposed modification does not address the problems inherent to the provision.

According to ICE data, 55 jurisdictions have signed “new standardized agreements” with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 12 others are pending agreement. ICE now requires police officers who turn in undocumented immigrants to follow through on “All criminal charges that originally caused the offender to be taken into custody.” But what measures has ICE taken to eradicate the racial profiling that has tainted the reputation of the 287(g) provision? The ACLU does not feel the modification is enough. And it’s hard to see how it could be. Under the modifications, the police would still be perceived by the immigrant community as prosecutors and potential border guards, not protectors to work with for the good of a neighborhood.

Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a perfect example of why the White House needs to cease all 287(g) agreements. Reporting for AlterNet, Isabel Macdonald chronicles the bizarre antics and mindset of the rogue lawman. Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement with the Federal government was recently downgraded. He can no longer perform his “over broad” sweeps, but Macdonald makes clear that this change is mostly symbolic. Arpaio is simply “An official who has come to expect total impunity.”

Another small, but meaningful step happened recently Milwaukee, as Leticia Miranda reports for RaceWire. Matt Nelson, a Milwaukee small business owner and spokesman for the Milwaukee Police Accountability Coalition, was harassed by police and threatened when he refused to reveal his Social Security Number (SSN) to an officer. Incensed, Nelson “pursued litigation of the officer filing a formal complaint against him,” appealing to the Milwaukee Fire and Commission, who oversees the Milwaukee Police Department.

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