IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project reacts to flawed program’s renewal

10/12/2012

In reaction to the renewal of the 287g program in Collier County:

“We are not only disheartened that ICE would renew the flawed and costly 287g agreement, but appalled as well that Sheriff Rambosk would not heed our request, along with 41 other civic and community leaders, to terminate this controversial program. We strongly believe that the Sheriff’s Office will have to deal with the consequences of the community’s mistrust and pervasive fear with 287g’s renewal.

We maintain our position that 287g as well as other enforcement programs like Secure Communities should be terminated as this does not only alienate an already vulnerable immigrant community, but also casts a wider dragnet for individuals who do not fit the “priorities” of the program.

Additionally, we ask that the Sheriff not honor the ICE requests. An ICE hold or immigration detainer asks local officials to detain an individual in their custody 48 hours longer than they otherwise would, in order to faciliate transfer to ICE. These holds are not mandatory and the Sheriff should not honor them.

The fight is not over. We will continue fighting for the dignity and respect of our communities in Collier County and can only attain this with the termination of police and immigration collaboration. ”

The Collier County Neighborhood Stories project

287g Makes Us Less Safe By Barbara Mainster, Executive Director of RCMA

Updated-October 15, 2012 

Naples Daily News Letter to the Editor 

October 11, 2012

287g Makes Us Less Safe

By Barbara Mainster

See Immokalee Bulletin publication

This month, more than 40 civic and religious leaders in Collier County — among them clergy, medical professionals, business owners and non-profit directors like myself — submitted a letter to Sheriff Kevin Rambosk to decry the harmful impacts we’ve personally observed from the Sheriff’s Office’s collaboration with federal immigration enforcement: the controversial 287g program.

As Collier leaders with our ears and eyes and hearts in the community, collectively representing many thousands of county residents, we sought to convey that the 287g program, which is up for renewal this month, is making our community less safe.

Surprisingly, instead of seeking to meet with some of us to figure out then how the Sheriff’s Office could sustain and improve the trust of the community, within hours we read his office’s statement to the press, which stated in part:  “Collier County remains committed to the 287g program.”

No request to meet.  No sign of worry that, as we wrote in our letter, “we have witnessed firsthand the widespread distrust and fear bred among families in our community due to the 287g program, and we know that your office’s continued participation in it will lamentably exacerbate this trend.”

Recently, an article in the Naples Daily News stated that Collier ranks 13th in the nation – behind major cities like Los Angeles, Houston and Las Vegas – in the number of deportations. The Sheriff mentions “crimes” that are committed in the area by undocumented immigrants. But what are these “crimes” exactly? The “crimes” mentioned by the Sheriff’s office could be tallied to let the public know how many deportations over the course of the implementation of the program were misdemeanors like motor vehicle infractions versus felonies, such as drug trafficking. That this tallying is not provided to the public upfront has to raise eyebrows.  What is being hidden?

The Major Cities Chiefs Association, a professional association of chiefs and sheriffs from the largest cities in the United States and Canada, published a position paper on immigration stating that local collaboration between law enforcement and federal immigration programs “undermines the trust and cooperation with immigrant communities.”

Instead of focusing on community terrorism, Sheriff Rambosk should focus more on community policing. Professor Alexander Vernon, acting director of the Immigrant Rights and Asylum Clinic at Ave Maria Law School, said in an interview that the sheriff is “responsible for community policing so he’s got to take responsibility for the effects this kind of program is gonna have on the ground.” Without the trust of the community, there’s no way to really keep our streets safe.

On a daily basis, I speak to countless families who are afraid for their children.

The Daily News article noted, “5,100 children [were] in foster care because of detentions or deportations, according to a 2011 report by the Applied Research Center, including 17 in Collier County.” How we can fathom separating a mother from her child? How is this keeping our community safe?

Fear is pervasive in the Latino neighborhoods of Naples and Immokalee, and it is not limited to undocumented individuals. Legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens say they fear for their unlawfully present family members. These are real and present consequences that the Sheriff is dealing with currently. If he renews 287g, he will renew these consequences. 287g will not keep us safe if it limits local law enforcement from doing their job and gaining trust in the community.

287g is under scrutiny from the federal government. The Sheriff states over and over again that this program is carefully administered in accordance with the law. But how is this program, which was recently terminated from Alamance County, N.C. for not abiding by the law, supposed to keep us safe? Two of the top three policing activities cited by the Department of Justice as a reason for suspending the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office’s 287g status were “ACSO deputies target Latino drivers for traffic stops” and “ACSO deputies routinely locate checkpoints just outside Latino neighborhoods, forcing residents to endure police checks when entering or leaving their communities.” 287g is not a success and has failed dramatically in the past.

In deciding whether to renew 287g with Collier County, ICE and the Sheriff’s Department should consider the findings of a top story in the Naples Daily News this spring, which found that “of the 18 checkpoints run since the start of 2010, when the Sheriff’s Office began publicizing the checkpoints, nine have been in Immokalee, four in Golden Gate and two in Golden Gate Estates — areas with some of Collier County’s largest concentrations of Hispanics.”As in Alamance, Collier County has been targeting checkpoints in predominantly non-white communities. This in a county, according to the US Census, that is 90.2% white.

Sheriff Rambosk should not renew the 287g agreement. Otherwise, he will continue to erode the trust he has in these communities and his department won’t be effective. This will not keep us safe.

###

Barbara Mainster is Executive Director of Redlands Christian Migrant Association, an Immokalee-based non-profit corporation that operates child care centers and charter schools for at-risk children in rural Florida.

Collier County among most active in US in 287g Program (see article)

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/oct/07/collier-287g-program-ICE-deport-illegal-aliens-US/

Text taken from Naples Daily News 

NAPLES — Since a much-debated immigration enforcement program started in Collier County five years ago, the Sheriff’s Office has detained enough unauthorized immigrants to fill every other seat at a Germain Arena concert.

New data obtained by the Daily News shows ICE processed 4,316 individuals for deportation from the county since the 287(g) partnership began in 2007 between the Collier Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

For the majority of those detained, the Collier County jail was their last local stop before federal custody and ultimately, deportation to their home countries.

And that number may be a deciding factor as to whether 18 Collier deputies trained by ICE will continue to perform the federal functions of identifying and detaining undocumented immigrants.

Collier deputies have turned over to federal immigration agents more undocumented immigrants under 287(g) than any other Florida agency operating the program.

A week remains before the agreement to collaborate expires in Collier, and ICE has yet to announce whether the partnership will continue.

Collier isn’t alone. The majority of agreements between the federal agency and 62 law enforcement entities in 24 states are slated to expire in October or November. That includes three others in Florida: the Jacksonville and Bay County sheriffs’ offices and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“At this point in time, all 287(g) agreements up for review are still being considered and no determinations on renewals have been made,” said Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for ICE, which oversees the program.

ICE plans to cut what it calls the “lowest-performing” 287(g) task forces, but it remains unclear how Collier will be affected by the scale-back.

The top 15 agencies still participating in 287(g) nationwide — including Collier — yielded 87 percent of deportations, a Daily News review of ICE data from 2006 through part of 2011 shows.

Collier ranks 13th in the nation, behind police agencies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Houston, in the number of deportations resulting from 287(g) during that period.

To date, participating agencies detained about 300,000 people under 287(g) agreements nationally since 2006, according to ICE.

The Collier Sheriff’s Office leads the four Florida agencies currently involved in the program, accounting for 66 percent of the total individuals in the state processed for removal from the U.S. under 287(g) to date.

At its core, 287(g) is ICE — a federal agency — delegating part of its duties to local law enforcement. There are more local officers than ICE agents, which translates to more officers looking for undocumented immigrants. But in practice, while leading to the removal of immigration violators, sharing those powers also created controversy and court cases.

Here’s a rundown of how the program functions, and what that means for Collier County:

Q. Who is considered “illegal,” “undocumented,” or “unauthorized”?

A. The terms are used to describe non-citizens who entered the country unlawfully or came legally, but overstayed a visa or had their immigration status revoked.

Q. How many undocumented immigrants are there in Collier County?

Sheriff Kevin RamboskSheriff Kevin Rambosk

A. There were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in March 2008, according to a Pew Hispanic Center estimate. Florida was third behind California and Texas, with roughly 1.1 million. There is no Collier-specific data, but 32 percent of Collier’s population of nearly 78,000 immigrants are naturalized citizens, according to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The remainder includes legal permanent residents, visa holders and undocumented aliens, among others. Immigration status isn’t asked by the Census.

Q. How does 287(g) work?

A. The 287(g) programs are implemented in two ways: a task force model, with 287(g)-trained officers investigating, interviewing, and detaining suspected immigration violators beyond what regular deputies can, and the jail model, where deputies determine through questioning and documents whether people arrested are in the country legally. Agencies could sign on to one or both, like the Collier County Sheriff’s Office did.

The state and local agencies don’t deport anyone, however. Once a local law enforcement agency detains an individual, ICE determines the next step. This can include the individual being deemed a low-priority and released, or sent before an immigration judge. The judge — in Miami for most Collier immigration violators — makes the final determination on removal.

Before local-federal partnerships, federal immigration agents often relied on focused raids, like on a business employing undocumented workers, rather than through daily reports from local agencies on people suspected of violating immigration law.

Q. Why is 287(g) controversial?

A. Proponents of 287(g), like former Collier Sheriff Don Hunter, say the program is effective in removing criminals and law-breakers. ICE insists that repeat immigration violators and violent or career criminals are priorities, and in Collier there are examples of such deportees.

Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter on NewsMakers 9-23-12. Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter on NewsMakers 9-23-12.

Program opponents agree that in many cases, deportation is warranted. But they point to discrimination as an inherent problem with 287(g), and there is evidence in their favor. Earlier this year, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona and, most recently in September, North Carolina’s Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, were stripped of their 287(g) agreements over discriminatory practices in carrying out the program.

“(We) believe the tendency for violations such as those in Alamance County to happen under 287(g) agreements is reason enough not to renew Collier’s,” Doug Wilson, president of the Collier County ACLU, told the Daily News in a statement.

There also are an estimated 5,100 children in foster care because of detentions or deportations, according to a 2011 report by the Applied Research Center, including 17 in Collier County.

Hunter, who first signed Collier onto the ICE agreement in 2007, is unapologetic: “The fact that they have family here is not on us. It’s on the individual who made the decision to bring their family here.”

Q. Why is the government cutting funding to 287(g)?

A. The review of the program comes ahead of a planned $17 million slash to the $68 million 287(g) budget this coming fiscal year. Cutting low-yielding 287(g) programs will save ICE money, since the agency pays out reimbursements per detainee, and in Collier that has amounted to at least $1.3 million over the years, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

ICE plans to spend $2.8 billion on enforcement and deportation in 2013, focused on expanding the Secure Communities program, which relies on information sharing and database access between local and federal agencies but doesn’t confer federal duties on local officers. Every inmate’s information is checked against immigration files to find violators. From October 2008 through July 2011, participation in Secure Communities led to 1,525 deportations from Collier — second highest in state behind Miami-Dade County — while in Lee, 404 inmates were removed from the country as a result of the program.Q. What is the future of 287(g)?

A. If no renewal is signed by ICE and the Collier Sheriff’s Office when the current agreement ends Oct. 15, a temporary accord must be established, or local deputies cannot continue performing immigration enforcement duties as they have since 2007.

Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk is a staunch supporter of 287(g) , which is named for the section of federal law that created the ICE partnerships with local law enforcement, and has told the Daily News on several occasions he intends for it to stay.

“We have implemented this program sensibly and have employed best practices to ensure that it is administered fairly and in accordance with the law,” the sheriff said in response to an anti-287(g) petition presented at the Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 1.

 

Letter to the Editor: Success for Whom?

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/oct/04/letter-success-for-whom/

By Dr. Juan Puerto

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk recently stated during a television interview on WINK News that the participation of his department in the 287-G program, with the U.S. Immigration and Citizen Enforcement (ICE), has been a success, but he did not elaborate.

My observation of the effect of 287-G to our community has been predominantly negative, and I consider it a failure on many levels.

First of all 287-G breaks up the family unit, and it removes a significant number of workers from our area during a recession, adversely affecting small businesses.

The 287-G program negatively affects all taxpayers. The family that is left behind when someone is deported frequently resorts to government assistance; also the taxpayers have to foot the bill for the thousands of incarcerated immigrants.

I ask, what is Sheriff Rambosk’s definition of success?

EXTENDED DEADLINE OCT 15!!! Alza Tu Voz: “Our Immigrant Communities” Art Contest

Calling all artists! 

About the Art Show

The Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project will be hosting its first ever art exhibit series showcasing the work of socially conscious artists from Florida and beyond. This show will serve as a fundraiser for our community bail and service fund.

The art exhibit will be a series of shows across the Naples and Immokalee area that will start in November. The shows are themed “Our Immigrant Communities” and artists are to connect their pieces to interpret the meaning of that phrase.

Details on the Submission of Art Pieces 

We are calling all artists, far and wide, to submit and donate art pieces using any type of medium. Be it painting, photography, sculpture, digital graphic, drawing- we want to showcase it! The pieces will be sold with all proceeds going to our community bail and service fund to establish immediate financial support for families that cannot afford bail for their loved ones in detention.

We humbly ask artists to donate their pieces in order to make this fundraiser a success. Please contact Alicia at alicia@collierstoriesmatter.org if you have questions regarding the submission of pieces.

Theme: Our Immigrant Communities

All pieces should tie back to the main theme and artists should expand on their own interpretation of images that show opposition to the unjust deportations of individuals in our community and that also show hope for a new future by fighting back. All artists will be showcased for their work with the possibility of possible reproduction of any digital works or paintings that have uplifting and positive undertones. Organizations in the state will be invited to bid on some of the works for possible poster reproduction.

Types of mediums (not an exhaustive list). Whatever you submit must be your own creation:

  • Drawing/painting
  • Sculpting
  • Music
  • Poetry/Spoken Word
  • Jewerly
  • Pottery
  • Wood Work

You can enter anything you created with your own two hands and that stands for something. We are open to anything!

All pieces must be submitted by October 15th. They should include your full name, a description of yourself, the name of the piece, a description of the piece, why you made it and the medium you used. If you wish to remain anonymous, please email us. 

*If you have any, send us some of your personal business cards so that we can have that as part of your piece exhibit.

Email digital work to Alicia at alicia@collierstoriesmatter.org or Rommy at rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org

Mail other types of work to Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project at 15275 Collier Blvd #201-152 Naples, FL 34119. Please notify us prior to mailing in order to make sure there are no problems.

Concurso de Arte: Campaña “Alza Tu Voz” extendido hasta el 15 DE OCTUBRE!

CONCURSO DE ARTE DEL SUROESTE DE LA FLORIDA

¿Te gusta dibujar o pintar?

¿Eres un maestro en el diseño en la computadora?

¿Siempre estas tomando fotos?

¿Has estado atraido al arte desde pequeño?

Entonces tu eres a quien buscamos! Este es un llamado general para todos los individuos creativos en la comunidad quienes desean compartir su trabajo con nosotros, con la esperanza de crear una galeria virtual que cree una conciencia colectiva.  Cada artista será creditado por su trabajo, el cual será exhibido por la red, también en nuestros entrenamientos en el suroeste de la Florida, y en los convenios que tomarán lugar a nivel estatal. Imagenes de los condados de Collier, Lee y Hendry son recomendados para el concurso pero no es requerido ser de estas areas.

Lo que buscamos: Queremos imagenes que muestren las injusticias que estan pasando dadas a las deportaciones de miembros de nuestra comunidad pero también, imagenes que muestren el sentimiento de lucha y esperanza que caracteriza a la comunidad inmigrante.

Premio: $200 en efectivo y la oportunidad de imprimir sus imagenes en posters y exhibirlos a nivel estatal. Hay muchas organizaciones buscando diseños para estas luchas!

Plazo: 15 de octubre

Specificaciones: Su arte deberia de ser suya y duplicable ( o de una manera de poder escanearla y esta limitada a 12¨x16¨) Todos los trabajos  digitales deberian de estar sometidos en el formato jpeg o pdf con una resolución de 300dpi y el tamaño deberia de ser entre 8×11, 11×14, 16×20, o 18×24, dependiendo en lo que le encaje a su arte)

Mande su arte por correo electronico con un titulo, algunos oraciones explicando la inspiración tras su arte, su nombre (solo requeremos su primer nombre o incluso puede ser anónimo), su edad y número de telefono o correo electronico.

Nota: Si su archivo es muy grande y no se puede mandar por correo electronico, mande un correo a Rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org para saber como resolver el problema.  

Contacte: mande todo a rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org o mande por correo a Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project al 15275 Collier Blvd #201-152 Naples, FL 34119