Feathered Bastard

Jan Brewer Hysterical Over Homeland Security's 287(g) Move

Governor Jan Brewer is in the throes of a full-on hissy fit in response to the news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is yanking its 287(g) agreements with Arizona law enforcement agencies, supposedly in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision earlier today to uphold the "papers please" section of Senate Bill 1070.

Thing is, the announcement concerning the 287(g) agreements is mostly a PR move, according to immigrant rights advocates, and there is evidence aplenty to back up that contention.

Under the 287(g) program, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (which is part of DHS) entered into agreements with local agencies, allowing officers to be cross-trained as ICE agents. The officers would then be allowed to enforce federal immigration law under ICE's supervision.

Earlier this year, DHS proposed a gradual phase-out of the program in favor of its so-called Secure Communities initiative, which allows local jails to share information about those arrested and booked with the feds and thereby, identify undocumented aliens. 

According to ICE's website all 15 of Arizona's counties participate in S-Comm. Moreover, the information being relayed to newspapers via unnamed DHS sources indicates that the 287(g) programs in Arizona's jails will remain active. 

Only the "field enforcement," i.e., the 287(g) programs that train officers for work on the streets, will be discontinued. 

Chris Newman, a lawyer with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, called the announcement "wholly insufficient," and mocked the idea that it would have a significant impact upon how localities partner with the feds on immigration.

"I think it's worth asking [Sheriff] Joe Arpaio what impact it had when his task force authority was cut," Newman said. "In effect, he said nothing changed."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons