The push-back against the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce efforts by federal, state and local law enforcement to deport criminal aliens continued today with a letter from 54 members of Congress, on the same day that CIS released a major study on the program that documents how gang violence and crime follows in the wake of relaxed enforcement of our immigration laws. The public safety implications of the Obama administration’s irresponsible failure to uphold our laws will unavoidably result in additional cases of Americans being the victims of violent crime perpetrated by illegal aliens, and not only the public at large, but a strong consensus of elected officials are convinced that the policies of Obama, Pelosi and Reid are absolutely the wrong choice for America.
54 Members of Congress to Obama: We Support 287(g) Program
Jail and task force models prevent crime, uphold law
Washington, DC – Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) and 53 other Members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama today expressing their support for a broadly-applied 287(g) program. The letter comes just days after the Obama administration implemented limits on state and local law enforcement agencies who participate in the 287(g) program. The limits prevent state and local law enforcement officers from arresting many of the illegal immigrants with whom they come into contact.
Ranking Member Smith, who co-authored the legislation that created 287(g), said:
“The Obama administration should not politicize this highly effective immigration enforcement and public safety program. Thanks to the 287(g) program, thousands of illegal immigrants that are identified in jails and through task force operations are being identified and deported.
“Claims that the program was supposed to focus only on ‘serious’ crimes are false. The program was created to let state and local law enforcement officials help enforce all immigration laws, not just a select few. One of the most effective things we can do to prevent illegal immigrant crimes in the first place is to deport illegal immigrants before they’ve committed one, whether they are identified in jails or by law enforcement task forces.
“The open borders crowd doesn’t like the 287(g) program because it is working — thousands of illegal immigrants are being identified and deported. It is so popular that the Department of Homeland Security rejected dozens of applications due to funding shortfalls in the last few years.
“Local law enforcement agencies deserve our thanks for helping to remove illegal immigrants from our communities before they threaten American lives and property. The Obama administration should not limit local agencies’ ability to help enforce our nation’s laws.”
According to the letter:
“The 287(g) program, whether through jail intake, task force or other operational models, is effective and has been used by jurisdictions across the United States to help reduce crime and illegal immigration. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) own website states ‘[T]he 287(g) program has emerged as one of the agency’s most successful and popular partnership initiatives as more state and local leaders have come to understand how a shared approach to immigration enforcement can benefit their communities.’ It allows law enforcement officials direct access to the information needed, and the authority, to issue detainers and hold an illegal immigrant until ICE is available to transport the individual to a detention facility.
“According to ICE statistics, ‘[S]ince January 2006, the 287(g) program is credited with identifying more than 130,000 potentially removable aliens – mostly at local jails. More than 1075 officers have been trained and certified through the program….’ The number of participating jurisdictions, currently at 57, has been as high as 67. Participants include local police departments, county sheriffs’ offices, state departments of corrections and state departments of public safety.”
In addition to Members of Congress, a study released this month indicates that Americans also support the 287(g) program. According to Rasmussen Reports, 64% of those surveyed believe law enforcement officers should conduct surprise visits at locations where illegal immigrants seek employment. Only 19% opposed the visits compared to 24% who opposed such visits back in April. By a 13-point margin, Americans believe that the federal government should not prevent local law enforcement from checking an individual’s immigration status even if they have committed no other crime.
The letter from Congressional 287(g) supporters follows numerous attacks on 287(g) by amnesty proponents. In addition to limiting 287(g) to only ‘serious’ criminals, the Obama administration recently stripped Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of 287(g) task force authority. In addition, both the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the New York Times editorial board recently called for the program’s termination.
Editor’s notes: The full text of the letter is available at http://republicans.judiciary.house.gov/News/Default.aspx
The letter’s signators are: Robert Aderholt (R - AL), Todd Akin (R - MO), Rodney Alexander (R – LA), Steve Austria (R – OH), James Barrett (R – SC), Roscoe Bartlett (R – MD), Brian Bilbray (R – CA), Gus Bilirakis (R – FL), Marsha Blackburn (R – TN), John Boozman (R – AR), Paul Broun (R – GA), Ginny Brown-Waite (R – FL), Vern Buchanan (R – FL), Ken Calvert (R – CA), John Campbell (R – CA), Eric Cantor (R – VA), Jason Chaffetz (R – UT), Howard Coble (R – NC), John Culberson (R - TX), Geoff Davis (R - KY), Nathan Deal (R – GA), Virginia Foxx (R – NC), Trent Franks (R – AZ), Elton Gallegly (R - CA), Bob Goodlatte (R – VA), Gregg Harper (R – MS), Wally Herger (R – CA), Jim Jordan (R – OH), Steve King (R - IA), Jack Kingston (R- GA), Tom Latham (R – IA), Robert Latta (R – OH), John Linder (R – GA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R – MO), Kenny Marchant (R – TX), Michael McCaul (R – TX), Tom McClintock (R – CA), Patrick McHenry (R – NC), Gary Miller (R – CA), Jerry Moran (R - KS), Sue Myrick (R – NC), Randy Neugebauer (R – TX), Pete Olson (R – TX), Ted Poe (R – TX), Bill Posey (R – FL), Tom Price (R - GA), Mike Rogers (R - AL), Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA), Thomas Rooney (R – FL), Edward Royce (R – CA), Heath Shuler (D - NC), Lamar Smith (R-TX), John Sullivan (R - OK), Frank Wolf (R – VA)
Those on the wrong side of this issue, especially folks like Gerry Connolly, better take heed here. One year from now a lot of the people aiding and abetting these horrible policies of the Obama Administration are going to be held to account by the voters.
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