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Quigley, Durbin, García Reintroduce Bill to Stymie Trump Administration’s Efforts To Deputize Local Police as Immigration Agents

May 14, 2019
Press Release
Bill would repeal 287(g) program, which allows ICE to partner with local law enforcement to serve as immigration officers

Today, Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Jesus “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced legislation that seeks to remove the ability of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to contract with local law enforcement for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law. The reintroduction comes on the heels of a new ICE initiative unveiled last week that allows local law enforcement officers to individually partner with ICE, even if the jurisdictions in which they work do not have formal 287(g) agreements.

The PROTECT Immigration Act would repeal the 287(g) provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows the Department of Homeland Security to contract with state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. The program has scaled up significantly during the Trump Administration, more than doubling since Trump took office – from 36 agreements in 16 states in January 2017 to 80 agreements in 21 states as of last week.

“Local and state law enforcement already have a job to do—protecting and serving their communities. Immigration enforcement is the job of the federal government. The 287(g) program erodes the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve and too often relies on profiling and racist stereotypes,” said Quigley. “Police should be building trust with their communities instead of using their limited resources to serve as part of this administration’s deportation force.”

“Programs that enable state and local law enforcement agents to assume federal immigration enforcement responsibilities will increase racial profiling, undermine public safety, and exact undue suffering on immigrant communities. Our legislation would prevent the fraudulent use of local taxpayer funds to convert local police agencies into extensions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who effectively tear families apart and terrorize law-abiding, hard-working families. Our communities don’t need more enforcement, they need investments in education, access to affordable healthcare, and jobs,” said García.

“I’ve said it before and I will say it again, local law enforcement are most effective when they have the cooperation of immigrant communities.  Public safety will suffer if immigrants fear that cooperating with the police could lead to a deportation order,” Durbin said. “Police officers should not have to focus their limited time and resources on enforcing federal immigration law just because the President and Congress have failed to do our job and fix our broken immigration system.  I’m proud to introduce this important legislation with Representatives Quigley and Garcia.”

The bill is endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Asian-Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Detention Watch Network, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Hispanic Federation, the Immigration Hub, Indivisible, National Council of Jewish Women, the National Immigrant Justice Center and United We Dream.

In the House, the legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Hank Johnson (GA-04), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). In the Senate, the bill is led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and cosponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).