As Immigration Impact recently blogged, new reports by the University of North Carolina/North Carolina ACLU and the Pew Hispanic Center further confirm what we reported last week: immigration enforcement is missing its mark.
The University of North Carolina/North Carolina ACLU report, "The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Laws: 287(g) Program in North Carolina," analyzes the partnership between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement, a partnership that is known as the 287(g) program.
The 287(g) program is essentially a law that grants local police and sheriffs to act as immigration officers when faced with "dangerous fugitive aliens." But what long term observation by the UNC/ACLU of NC law team shows is that this program "has instead created a climate of racial profiling and community insecurity."
Similarly, the new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, "A Rising Share: Hispanics and Federal Crime" demonstrates that enforcement measures like raids, detention, and deportation are placing a significant burden on the federal court system.
As the report points out, most immigration violations like "unlawful presence" or "entry without inspection" are civil--not criminal--infractions. However, all immigration matters are managed in federal courts.
The result is that the steep increase in immigration enforcement in recent years has flooded the federal court system with individuals who are non-violent and pose absolutely no threat to community safety. In turn, this has taken time and resources away from prosecuting those individuals who are actually criminals.
With all these reports coming out, you'd hope that DHS and the new administration might get the picture: Enforcement-only does not work. It hurts our communities.