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Jayapal Works to End Deputization of Local Police to Enforce Immigration Law

PROTECT Immigration Act would rescind the 287(g) Program while repealing the federal government’s authority to deputize state and local police to enforce federal immigration law

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today in reintroducing the PROTECT Immigration Act. The legislation ends the deputization of local and state police departments to enforce immigration law by rescinding the statutory authority for the federal government’s 287(g) Program, which allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law.

“While we’ve begun a new presidential administration, we still need to put an end to our country’s long history of targeting, profiling, and tearing apart immigrant communities while criminalizing those who call them home,” said Jayapal. “A critical first step is ending the unnecessary deputization of local and state police departments to enforce outdated federal immigration law. Doing so will not only make our communities more safe but will begin to humanely reform our broken immigration system so it’s focused on dignity, fairness, and family unity.”

“Immigration enforcement should not be delegated to state and local police departments that are not equipped to enforce immigration laws – it is the job of the federal government,” said Booker. “These agreements undermine public safety and result in the racial profiling and harassment of members of the immigrant community.” 

“The Trump administration spent years fomenting a culture of fear in immigrant communities and eroding the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they protect. Ending programs that turn local law enforcement into immigration enforcement departments is a critical step in the process of returning to an immigration system that prioritizes justice over fear,” said Quigley. “We must enact legislation that ensures immigration enforcement always remains the purview of the federal government because local and state law enforcement already have a job to do—protecting and serving their communities.”

“When local law enforcement works hand in hand with ICE, everyone is less safe. Imagine what this means for immigrants who already avoid reporting domestic violence or other crimes because they fear being deported? For Black and Brown immigrants, the entanglement of law enforcement and immigration agencies means increased racial profiling, arrests, incarceration, and deportation,” said García. “Our communities don’t need more enforcement – they need investments in education, access to affordable health care, and jobs. If we are committed to creating a more humane and just immigration system, then we must start by terminating programs such as 287(g).”

The 287(g) Program allows DHS to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law. In 2017, then-President Trump issued an executive order to drastically expand the program.

The Members also sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that urges the agency to terminate all existing 287(g) agreements.

Specifically, the PROTECT Immigration Act would:

  • Repeal the statutory authority for the 287(g) Program; and 
  • Clarify that state and local law enforcement lack “inherent authority” to arrest people for suspected immigration offenses. 

Full text of the legislation can be viewed here and the full text of the letter can be viewed here