The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently expanded 287(g), a law that gives local officials the authority to act as federal agents in the enforcement of immigration laws. 287(g) has a number of serious implications.
One, it takes valuable resources away from law enforcement agencies that are trying to catch “real criminals” as opposed to hardworking immigrants and their family members, whose only crime is being in the country without proper legal status. By focusing attention on the legal status of innocent people and away from dangerous criminals, whole neighborhoods and communities are put at risk.
Two, expanding 287(g) may create even greater room for abuse. Take, for example, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is under federal investigation for racial profiling. Former Arizona State Senator Alfredo Gutierrez recently argued in the Arizona Republic:
Sheriff Arpaio has exploited the program by using it to further his own political agenda, conducting so called “crime sweeps” exclusively in communities of color. Using precious law-enforcement resources, these dragnets result in arrests of few, if any, dangerous offenders. Instead, people of color are harassed on suspicion of minor infractions.
“The most serious infractions in these raids are attributable to Sheriff Arpaio, who is violating the constitutionally guaranteed rights we all have to due process, equal protection under the law and security against unreasonable searches and seizures.”