Local News

February 26, 2012

Saving ‘287(g)’

Cut in funding proposed for criminal alien ID program

(Continued)

Really ‘secure’?

Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, which “supports a low-immigration, pro-immigrant vision of the United States that admits fewer immigrants but affords a warmer welcome for those who are admitted,” has looked at 287(g) and the proposed Secure Communities program, and found the latter lacking.

“Secure Communities only identifies between 10 and 50 percent of the actual number of criminal aliens that are being arrested,” she said. “That’s letting a lot of the worst of the worst fall between the cracks and (being) potentially released back into the community. 287(g) is much more comprehensive and thorough in identifying folks ... besides that, you have 287(g) is leveraging local resources as well as the federal training program to get the job done. So it’s a lot more cost-effective ... it gives us much more bang for the buck than Secure Communities.”

Vaughan said the national push to cut back on 287(g) programs is “task force-oriented” rather than “jail-oriented,” like Whitfield County’s program.

“This notion of unproductive is in the eye of the beholder, because I consider 287(g) programs to be very hopeful and useful even if they’re not making a lot of arrests,” she said. “I’m not so sure what the (Obama) administration’s definition of productive is going to be ... there are a number of organized groups that are opposed to 287(g) and the program that they’re most opposed to is the task force. So this may be more of a political gesture than anything else, although the truth is the Obama administration has not been supportive of 287(g) in any form whatsoever.”

Vaughan said the $17 million cut that will waylay many 287(g) programs around the country may just be the initial implementation of a far-reaching plan.

“This may just be the first step, but they can’t get away with eliminating the program entirely because there’s a lot of support in Congress and among the sheriffs nationwide for 287(g),” she explained. “So they can’t get away with eliminating it entirely, so they’re going to try to starve it to death. They don’t want to approve any new agreements, so this is kind of a first move.”

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