‘Law enforcement should be focused on keeping their communities safe and pursuing serious threats, not acting as ICE agents…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, introduced legislation on Tuesday that will harm Immigration and Customs Enforcement by furthering the split between local police departments and federal immigration agencies.
Booker’s PROTECT Immigration Act would terminate section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows ICE to train local law enforcement officers to fulfill federal immigration law.
When President Donald Trump took office, he signed an executive order to expand the 287(g) program.
The program allows local police departments to “enter into a partnership with ICE … in order to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.”
Since Trump signed the executive order, the number of 287(g) jurisdictions has more than doubled to 80, spread throughout 21 states, according to ICE.
Michael Kagan, director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Immigration Clinic, said the 287(g) program blurs the distinction between local officers and ICE agents.
“There are officers inside the Clark County Detention Center, our main jail, that are actually employed by our local police. But if you meet them, you will think they are ICE officers,” Kagan said.
“They will function as immigration officers inside the jail, screening out people and starting the deportation process against them.”
Booker, and many of his fellow progressive Democrats, do not think local police departments can maintain trust with their communities if they enforce federal immigration laws.
“With limited time and resources, local and state law enforcement should be focused on keeping their communities safe and pursuing serious threats, not acting as ICE agents,” Booker said, according to CBS News.
Yet, many proponents of local–federal cooperation on immigration enforcement believe that it will make communities safer and decrease the load on police officers.
This is because illegal immigration mixed with sanctuary policies prevents the pre-emptive arrest of known offenders.
Booker’s bill would not outlaw ICE detainers,, so local police departments could still hold illegal aliens until ICE detains them.
ICE said Booker’s bill to end the local–federal partnership would “undermine public safety, prevent the agency from executing its federally mandated mission, and increase the risks for officers forced to make at-large arrests in unsecure locations.”