Politics Democrats urge Biden to stop using local police to enforce federal immigration law
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The magnitude of the economic proposals that President Joe Biden may pass through Congress this year is drawing legitimate comparisons to Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society.But Biden simultaneously faces the prospect that almost all of his legislative initiatives revolving around social, cultural and racial equity issues, from immigration to gun control and LGBTQ rights, could die in the Senate.
- Sen. Cory Booker and other Democrats want local police to stop enforcing federal immigration law.
- In a letter, the lawmakers urged DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas to "immediately terminate" the policy.
- They argue that using local police makes immigrants afraid to report crimes.
By enlisting local police in efforts to carry out deportations, the federal government is making the country less safe by discouraging immigrants from coming forward to report serious crimes, Democratic lawmakers argued Thursday in an appeal to the Biden administration.
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In anto Alejandro Mayorkas, head of the US Department of Homeland Security, Sen. Cory Booker urged the new administration to "immediately terminate" so-called 287(g) agreements, which effectively allow state and local police "to function as federal immigration agents."
The New Jersey Democrat was joined on the letter by Rep. Mike Quigley, of Illinois, and Washington's Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Should the Biden administration fail to act, the lawmakers are prepared to fall back on new legislation, "The PROTECT Immigration Act," repealing the federal government's authority to deputize state and local law enforcement.
"Immigration enforcement should not be delegated to state and local police departments that are not equipped to enforce immigration laws - it is the job of the federal government," Sen. Booker said in a statement. "These agreements undermine public safety and result in the racial profiling and harassment of members of the immigrant community."
Despite Biden’s union support, immigration judges left waiting
President Joe Biden has emerged as a strong pro-labor voice, tapping a former union official as Labor secretary and issuing an explicit pro-union statement amid Amazon workers’ unionization bid. Still, the president has yet to offer support to one federal employees’ union that took a particular beating under the Trump administration — the immigration judges’ […] The post Despite Biden’s union support, immigration judges left waiting appeared first on Roll Call.
Under the 287(g) program, initiated by Congress in 1996, participating law enforcement may interrogate suspected noncitizens who have already been arrested; as of July 2020, police departments in 21 states do this, according to the American Immigration Council. Departments in nine states also directly enforce administrative warrants from US Customs and Immigration Enforcement."
Perhaps the most infamous partner of the federal government was the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, in Arizona, under Joe Arpaio, which in 2007 had signedwith DHS allowing trained officers to interrogate "any alien or person believed to be an alien." A 2011 investigation by the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division subsequently found the department "engages in racial profiling of Latinos."
A federal court, the same year, ordered Arpaio to stop detaining people solely for immigration offenses; he refused and was later convicted of criminal contempt.
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In light of such abuses, President Barack Obama terminated some previous 287(g) agreements and "generally limited" their use, according toby the Congressional Research Service. That came after not just unlawful abuse, but evidence that the program was being used to target "noncitizens arrested for misdemeanors and traffic offenses," not serious offenders, .
President Donald Trump, however, expanded the program, signing 23 agreements with local law enforcement in Texas alone. That, along with highly visible mass raids in major cities, was followed by a steep decline in both lawful and undocumented immigrants coming forward to report domestic violence and other crimes,.
President Biden has rescinded a number of his predecessor's policies on immigration, resulting inarrests and formal deportations, not including those summarily removed after crossing the border. But he has thus far declined to terminate 287(g) and related programs, such as "Secure Communities," which allows local law enforcement to share arrested individuals' fingerprints with ICE.
In February, more than 60 members of Congressto end those initiatives.
DHS did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
"While we've begun a new presidential administration, we still need to put an end to our country's long history of targeting, profiling, and tearing apart immigrant communities while criminalizing those who call them home," Rep. Jayapal said in a statement.
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Biden's capital gains tax hike to 39.6% will send rates soaring .
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