ACLU Statement on New GAO Report on 287(g)

February 26, 2021 3:45 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office released a new report today on 287(g) agreements, which tap local law enforcement to do Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s bidding, and which skyrocketed under former President Trump — from 35 in January 2017 to 150 agreements in September 2020.

According to Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU:

“This report confirms that ICE exponentially expanded the 287(g) program without a plan to prevent, detect, or remedy the abuses against immigrants and racial profiling that were likely to result. ICE admitted that it does not even track and cannot determine how many deportations and detentions have resulted from the program. The report reveals that many state and local law enforcement officers who participated in the program failed to comply with training requirements and violated ICE policy, even as ICE failed to follow protocols for monitoring and reporting on these issues.

“The report also makes clear that ICE has implemented many of these agreements — particularly within the Trump administration-initiated Warrant Service Officer model — with limited or no oversight. The lack of oversight is inexcusable and is itself a reason to suspend the program immediately. But no amount of oversight can fix the basic problem: that 287(g) and related programs are a recipe for pretextual arrests and racial profiling. That is a major reason why more than 60 members of Congress recently urged Secretary Mayorkas to dismantle the program, and why elected sheriffs in many communities — including in Georgia and South Carolina — have pledged to end their localities’ 287(g) agreements. Immigrants, their family members, and their friends are all less likely to come forward as witnesses, provide crime tips, or seek police protection for fear of putting themselves or their loved ones at risk.

“During a global pandemic, the cost of this entanglement is even greater, as people are reluctant to get a free COVID-19 test or a vaccine for fear that state and local agencies won’t safeguard their information, or that ICE will use it to locate them and deport them or their loved ones. That means everyone is less safe. GAO’s recommendations don’t go nearly far enough: We need to end the 287(g) programs nationwide and make our country safer.”

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release