Trump’s ICE Recruited Sheriffs to Target Undocumented Immigrants

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Pro-immigration groups have repeatedly warned that the Federation for American Immigration Reform lobbying group, and a program known as 287(g), which empowers state and local law enforcement officers to act with federal authority in questioning, reporting and detaining undocumented immigrants, enabled hard-line sheriffs to target undocumented immigrants leading peaceful lives, reports The Washington Post. The program is operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who insist that it would focus only on serious criminals, but that the Trump administration aggressively used to recruit local law enforcement partners and court sheriffs who championed similar views on immigration policy.

Under Trump, the number of partners in 287(g) and a related program quadrupled, from about 35 in 2017 to more than 140 earlier this year. About 15 are sheriffs who have been publicly linked to FAIR, which has been described by pro-immigration groups and others as an anti-immigrant organization. The process has separated families and created bureaucratic, legal and financial challenges for those detained or deported. During Trump’s first year in office, the number of immigrants taken into ICE custody under the 287(g) program averaged more than 680 a month, up from about 300 a month in 2016. Biden promised during his campaign to “end the Trump administration’s historic use of 287(g),” but no plan has been announced. The administration has laid out new enforcement priorities that will likely lead to far fewer deportations under the program and others. ICE has hailed the 287(g) program as a “force multiplier,” a critical alliance to root out those deemed eligible for deportation.

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