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Local authorities being used in controversial immigration roles

Typically, immigration enforcement operations are handled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, in a move that has proven controversial, ICE has been working with other authorities at the local and state levels, allowing them to help with these immigration procedures.

At this time, ICE claims that they have trained around 1,500 people to fill these roles.

"We're establishing new, stronger partnerships between [Enforcement and Removal Operations] and many state and local law enforcement agencies through 287(g) agreements that will train and empower them to enforce federal immigration laws," the acting director said. "These partnerships help minimize officer risk and maximize public safety. There's really no downside to these agreements."

He also mentioned potentially expanding this process in the future.

His claim that there is no downside is also controversial, depending on who you ask. For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has claimed that this program leads to:

  • Racial profiling
  • Civil rights violations
  • The use of resources that could otherwise be used for more important police operations

One thing that is clear is that the program has had an impact, at least when you look at the arrest statistics. The acting director claimed that around 160,000 people got arrested over the course of 2018.

It will be important to keep an eye on this program, especially if it is expanded as some members of the program seem to hope. It is also important for those who get arrested or run into other immigration issues to know exactly what legal rights they have and what they can do to protect themselves.

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