ACTION ALERT: National Call-in Day of Action: End 287g

December 13th, 2012

Washington, DC  Today rights groups across the country are participating on a national call-in day  urging the Administration to terminate the fundamentally flawed 287(g) deportation program instead of expanding it to 11 new counties.

This is our last chance and we need to make it count!

Participating organizations include: Florida Immigrant Coalition, ACLU of Florida, North Carolina Justice Center, Coalicion de Organizaciones Latino Americanas, ACLU of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Centro Presente, VA Legal Aid Justice Center – Immigrant Advocacy Program, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Rights Working Group
On this national day of action, join the hundreds of other constituents who will call upon our national, state and local elected officials to bring an end to the poli-migra effect in Florida.

Read national press release here

Read about past press events related to this fight here 

End the 287g in Collier County and jacksonville, FL!

Action Steps:

The math is simple: the more calls we have, the better chance our shared voices will act as a megaphone and project what we want our elected officials to hear! We can make a major impact if we can jam up their local offices with as many calls within the business day as possible!

1. Pick up the phone and call the following targets from 9 AM to 5 PM! Use the pre-written message (or one of your own) that talks about the negative impacts we are seeing 287g bring to our communities!

2. Forward this information to a friend! Make sure they make a call! Anyone can call their DC offices, no matter where they live and ask our elected officials to intervene for us and pressure the administration and DHS to end the program!

It’s that simple!

CALL IN DAY small-2Sen. Bill Nelson 
Washington, D.C. 202-224-5274
Fort Myers 239-334-7760Sen. Marco Rubio
Washington D.C. 202-224-3041
Naples (239) 213-1521

Representative Connie Mack
Washington DC 202-225-2536
Naples 239-252-MACK
Cape Coral 239-573-5837

Message:
My name is ________________ and I live in _____________ , zip code ____________ and I am calling Senator __________ to urge him to intervene and pressure the Department of Homeland Security and the White House to terminate the 287g program once and for all. Instead of focusing on pushing out low-priority individuals and separating families, the White House and our Senator _______should work on passing just and comprehensive immigration reform that lifts up our communities, and doesn’t hurt them.

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk
Direct Line: 239- 252-0555

Message:
My name is ________________ and I live in _____________ , zip code ____________ and I am calling Sheriff __________ to urge him to re-evaluate the renewal of the 287g program once and for all. I know he has the power to step in and shouldn’t focus on pushing out low-priority individuals and separating families, but rather continuing the trust that has been built with the community. I don’t want to feel fearful for my families and friends and I don’t want to fear our local Sheriff’s Department.

Advertisements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ACLU, FLIC & 40 Groups Call on Nelson, Rubio to End Controversial Immigration Program

Naples Daily News Coverage 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 7, 2012

CONTACT:  

ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 – 2737 media@aclufl.org

Grey Torrico, Florida Immigrant Coalition, grey@floridaimmigrant.org(239) 571-7043

 Description: cid:image004.png@01CD81FF.1AD80260         Inline image 1

ACLU of Florida, FLIC and Coalition Call on Nelson, Rubio and Local Leaders to End Controversial Federal Immigration Program

Federal 287(g) agreements in Collier County and Jacksonville have led to thousands of deportations for minor offenses, increased potential for racial profiling

MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida today called on local and federal officials to end agreements between two local sheriff’s offices and federal immigration authorities because of damage to community trust in law enforcement, waste of local law enforcement resources, and the potential for increased racial profiling.

Currently, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of the program, known as 287(g), which deputizes local police officers to perform immigration enforcement functions on behalf of the federal government. The ACLU sent letters signed on to by 40 state and local organizations, as well as a petition signed by nearly 2,000 Floridians, to decision-makers including Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson urging them not to allow the agreements to be renewed when they expire at the end of the year.

“The year-end deadlines for the renewal or the expiration of the 287(g) agreements have created a critical moment for leaders to decide whether we allow these injustices to continue, or whether we ensure that police attention is 100 percent focused on public safety and leave immigration enforcement to federal authorities where it belongs,” stated Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. “This is our opportunity for our leaders to create a state that treats all residents with dignity and respect.”

The 287(g) program allows state and local law enforcement agencies to enter into an agreement with ICE to enforce immigration laws within their jurisdictions, empowering local police to ask questions about the immigration status of individuals in their jurisdictions and detain them on behalf of ICE.  The program has produced countless complaints about abusive police practices, racial and ethnic profiling, and the deterioration of relationships between police and the communities they serve.

57 law enforcement agencies in 21 states participate in the program. The Collier and Jacksonville agreements are the only 287(g) agreements in Florida. Collier County has participated in the program since 2007 and Jacksonville since 2008. Collier County’s participation in the 287(g) program has resulted in 4,316 deportations, one of the highest rates of all the jurisdictions participating in the program across the country.

Some law enforcement officers such as Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk have touted the 287(g) program as an effective mechanism to remove criminals from neighborhoods and make the community safer. Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford similarly claims that participation in the 287(g) program is about taking criminals off the streets and not to prosecute individuals arrested for minor offenses.

However, the facts show that minor offenders are being targeted under the program. According to an in-depth study, in the first ten months of 2010, half of the detainers issued by 287(g) officers nationwide were placed on people apprehended for misdemeanors, traffic violations, and noncriminal immigration offenses.

“The large number of arrests for minor violations resulting in immigration consequences raises serious concerns about racial profiling in the implementation of the 287(g) program,” stated ACLU of Florida Staff Attorney Shalini Agarwal.

The ACLU of Florida along with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) organized a coalition letter, signed onto by 40 state and local organizations, calling on Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and Representatives Corrine Brown, Ander Crenshaw and Connie Mack IV to pressure the Department of Homeland Security to allow the 287(g) program agreements to expire altogether at the end of the year. The letter states that “[t]he most tangible effect of the program has been generating fear and a marked mistrust of police among both documented and undocumented individuals in the Latino community.”

Along with the letter, the ACLU of Florida also sent the names of nearly 2000 Floridians who had signed onto a petition urging their Senators to take action to end the program.

“Like the infamous Arizona anti-immigrant law, this delegation of federal immigration enforcement power to local police officers is ripe for abuse and has fueled a toxic environment of mutual mistrust between police and the immigrant community here in our state,” said Maria Rodriguez Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “We urge our leaders to put a stop to this program that has fed the dual injustices of racial profiling and targeting of the immigrant community here in Florida.”

The ACLU of Florida also sent a letter to Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford requesting a meeting with the sheriff to discuss why the city should not renew its 287(g) agreement, even if the federal program continues. The letter quotes former Miami Police Chief John Timoney, who has been a critic of local enforcement of federal immigration law: “All our citizens are directly affected, whether they are immigrants or not, by these policies. Immigrant victims and witnesses of violent crimes will not come forward if they fear their ‘local police’ will deport them. This affects everyone, as it hampers law enforcement efforts to thwart criminal activity in our neighborhoods.”

The ACLU of Florida will continue collecting names on its online petition and pressuring local and federal officials to end participation in the program until a final decision is reached by year’s end. The National ACLU also sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today calling on her to end the program.  ACLU state affiliates in other states with participating jurisdictions have similarly called on their elected officials and law enforcement leaders to end the program.

A copy of the coalition letter sent to the Senators and Representatives is available here:http://aclufl.org/pdfs/2012-12-07-ACLUFL-287gLetter.pdf

The ACLU of Florida’s online petition is available here: https://www.aclu.org/secure/FL-End-287g-anti-immigrant-agreements-petition

 # # #

About the ACLU of Florida: The ACLU of Florida is freedom’s watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislature and throughout Florida to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the United States and Florida Constitutions and the Bill of Rights.  For additional information, visit our web site at: www.aclufl.org

Op-Ed: 287g Immigration enforcement program should be ended now

December 7, 2012

Ending the 287(g) Program

as seen on print edition of the Naples Daily News

Alexvernon profile pictureBy Alex Vernon

Acting Director, Asylum and Immigrant Rights Clinic, Ave Maria Law School

This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent in churches around the country. As most people prepare for a season of visiting and celebrating with family and friends, more and more families are without someone dear to them, separated not by death, but by deportation. This is a stark reality in communities such as that of Immokalee’s Our Lady of Guadalupe church, where prayers for the deported are offered up fervently in the prayers of the faithful.

Most observers agree that the record numbers of deportations occurring in the United States are due in part to immigration enforcement partnerships between the Federal government and State and Local law enforcement. One such partnership program is the “287(g)” program currently in effect in Collier County. 287(g) delegates immigration enforcement authority to participating law enforcement agencies across the country, and the stated goal of the program is to target high priority criminals. Yet according to a nationwide study of 287(g) during the first ten months of 2010, fully one-half of the individuals caught up in the program are not serious criminals, but are instead arrested for misdemeanors, traffic offenses, and noncriminal immigration violations.

The stories I hear from immigrant advocates in Collier County are consistent with the stories I’ve heard from advocates around the country. More and more people are being picked up for minor offenses, or detained based on questioning with no charges laid at all, only to end up facing detention and deportation in removal proceedings. I have seen this in my own immigration practice, albeit in other jurisdictions

I have encountered crime victims who have had police report them and their families to immigration as the first order of business in investigating a crime. I have encountered people of color who were pulled over by law enforcement agents in paramilitary gear, questioned about their immigration status and handed over to immigration authorities with no charges being laid. I have heard of criminals continuing to victimize communities, because community members are fearful that contact with law enforcement may lead to deportation for themselves, or for ones dear to them. Based on what I have heard from local advocates, there is a danger this is happening in Collier County as well.

This is a concern because in Collier County and in other jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements, advocates are finding that there is a widening gulf between the police and the community they are pledged to protect. Since 287(g) was implemented in Collier County five years ago, they are finding that local immigrants and even their U.S. citizen loved ones are increasingly hesitant to call the police to report crimes or cooperate in criminal investigations. This may undercut the effectiveness of other excellent initiatives to assist immigrant victims of trafficking and crime.

The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily extended 287(g) program, which was set to expire in September 2012 in Collier County, until December 31, 2012. This is the current expiry date for all programs nationwide. In its budget justification for fiscal 2013, The Department of Homeland Security sought $17 million less in funding for the 287(g) program, and said that in light of the expansion of Secure Communities, (A Federally run program) “it will no longer be necessary to maintain the more costly and less effective 287(g) program.”

I stand with the coalitions of concerned community members in appealing to authorities in Collier County and in the federal government to discontinue the controversial 287(g) program now. When an entire segment of our community is afraid of talking to the police, this does not make us any safer. Our community deserves better.