Immigration Program Raises Racial Profiling Concerns

Human rights experts are asking President Biden to put a stop to a controversial program. The program, Immigration Customs Enforcement 287(g), uses local law enforcement to perform duties normally left to ICE workers. Outsourcing immigration enforcement can lead to serious problems, according to human rights experts.

A UN Committee Takes Aim at 287(g)

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is the latest group trying to raise awareness about the problems of 287(g). Their concerns center on the practice of racial profiling.

Racial profiling, also known as ethnic profiling, is when law enforcement uses race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin as the reason to be suspicious of a person’s behavior. If an officer takes an action because someone looks “foreign” or has a foreign-sounding last name, that would be an example of racial profiling.

Racial profiling violates the US Constitution. Critics, such as the ACLU, say 287(g) increases the likelihood that local law enforcement officers will engage in illegal racial profiling.

Actions Taken Under 287(g)

The impact of this program is massive. More than 700 officers around the country are asked to assist with immigration enforcement efforts. This includes efforts to identify, stop and deport people under ICE authority.

While 287(g) doesn’t require law enforcement officers to engage in racial profiling, it can provide an incentive for them to do so. In fact, the ACLU found some troubling data concerning agencies and leadership participating in 287(g), including:

  • At least 65% have records of a pattern of racial profiling
  • At least 59% of sheriffs have records of anti-immigrant, xenophobic rhetoric, contributing to the risk of racial profiling
  • At least 55% of sheriffs have made statements advocating inhumane immigration and border enforcement policies

A Violation of Civil Liberties

What can racial profiling look like? Imagine a police officer monitoring traffic. The officer sees two cars, each with a tail light out. One of the drivers looks Latino to the officer. The other does not.

287(g) might be enough encouragement for the officer to stop the possibly Latino driver while letting the other driver go. But does this actually happen?

It does indeed. The ACLU released a report earlier this year concerning the impact of 287(g) on racial profiling. The report concluded that the arrest rates for Latino drivers were impacted by the program, with the arrest rates for Latinx individuals driving without a license more than doubling in Davidson County, Tennessee.

This shows that officers can make more racially-profiled traffic stops and pre-textual arrests in places where 287(g) is in effect. As a result, uneven, race-based immigration enforcement can happen. Many immigrants who face racial profiling are more likely to be deported.

Call an Experienced Dallas Immigration Lawyer

We’ve been helping the immigrant community with legal problems for more than 25 years. If you have an immigration concern, attorney Mark E. Jacobs can give you the answers you need. Call us today at 972-445-7577  or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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