Georgia lawyers claim section 287(g) agreement causing unequal enforcement of laws

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From April 30, 2008

Lawyers in Gainesville, Georgia, claim that they are seeing Hispanics being jailed for crimes for which other persons would get a warning or a citation.

Unfortunately, since November 1, 2007, when House Bill 1804 took effect, we’ve seen the same thing happen in Oklahoma where persons with a certain skin color get arrested for something that someone with a different skin color would not be placed under arrest.

Section 287(g) agreements are agreements between the Secretary of Homeland Security and a state or local government in which the Secretary delegates enforcement of federal immigration laws to state or local law enforcement. I question the Constitutionality of these section 287(g) programs, which require a memorandum of agreement between the state or local government in question and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

However, in Oklahoma, only the Tulsa County Sheriff possesses any such agreement with the U.S. Attorney General. In essence, certain of his officers received training from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and may directly enforce immigration laws. Unfortunately, according to some law enforcement officials, the Tulsa County Sheriff held a seminar or multiple seminars teaching other law enforcement officials what his officers learned at their ICE training. Apparently, no one has fully realized that other law enforcement departments in the state cannot do what the Tulsa County Sheriff does because those other departments do not possess a memorandum of agreement with the Secretary of Homeland Security. In essence, apparently, many law enforcement officials are now acting outside the law in taking on immigration enforcement without the proper authority. Unless this witch hunt atmosphere turns back, I foresee many lawsuits against law enforcement officials in Oklahoma. And, immigration is a trendy thing right now in terms of being heavy handed. Many of these cases will go to trial with the benefit of hindsight. What seemed like a great idea in 2007 or in 2008 may seem pretty mean and stupid in the future. The damage amounts could devastate some law enforcement agencies or local governments.

As I’ve said before, don’t use state or local money or personnel or resources to enforce federal law. If state and local politicians keep carrying the water for the feds, then the feds will never gear up to pass meaningful reforms or act to enforce existing law. And, as I’ve said before, our state and local tax revenues will go to supplement the federal government and be diverted from providing necessary state and local services.

Anyhow, here is where you’ll find the list of section 287(g) participating state and local law enforcement agencies. It’s interesting to note that this ICE web page notes terrorism and criminal activity as the big reason for section 287(g) cooperation. I am thinking about writing a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Dear Secretary:

I note that millions of state and local tax revenues have been used to subsidize enforcement of our federal immigration laws that should be handled by the United State Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the section 287(g) program. I note that terrorism and criminal activity are stated as the grounds for the use of state and local tax revenue to prop up immigration enforcement that should exclusively be up to ICE.

I have one question for you: Can you please list for me the names, arrest dates and convictions of those terrorists and organized crime figures captured as a result of the section 287(g) program?

Very truly yours,

Steven F. Langer