Writing to the Department of Homeland Security, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been given too much power under the Trump administration.
In the letter, the ACLU is requesting that the federal law enforcement agency end cooperation between local police departments and ICE, calling the government’s present agreement “one of the worst federal immigration enforcement programs.”
The program, titled 287(g), allows state and city police departments to work together with federal agents and assist them in carrying out their orders, which the ACLU argues should not be allowed to two dozen jurisdictions across the United States “that have records of abuse and anti-immigrant animus.”
“The Trump administration has recklessly expanded the program to include jurisdictions volunteering to join Trump’s deportation force. 287(g) has been expanded despite its troubled past, without transparency or oversight. The costs of enmeshing local law enforcement agencies in the business of federal civil immigration enforcement far outweigh the benefits,” the ACLU wrote.
ACLU policy counsel Chris Rickerd argues that “287(g) has long been one of the worst federal immigration enforcement programs and has directly contributed to egregious civil rights violations by notorious figures such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona as well as Sheriff Terry S. Johnson in Alamance County, North Carolina, which is re-applying to join the program.”
The ACLU’s appeal was directed to Scott Schuchart, the senior civil rights advisor at DHS, calling on the federal agency to reject new applications to join the program and cancel cooperation where it currently exists between ICE and around 60 police departments in 18 states.
It is worth noting that the ACLU has not made any legal challenges to the Department of Homeland Security, and that it is simply a request.