287(g) is a program that authorizes local police departments to do ICE’s immigration work. Local police receive little training and often racially profile Black, Indigenous, and People of Color residents.
Cecil, Frederick, and Harford currently have what are known as 287(g) agreements with ICE. The agency trains and authorizes police officers at local detention centers to act as ICE agents.
However, 287(g) programs do not come with federal funding, but other agency programs do. Frederick, Howard and Worcester have Intergovernmental Service Agreements, where they rent beds to ICE to house immigrants at local detention centers. They are profiting off of the pain and separation of immigrant families.
The ACLU of Maryland strongly opposes the 287(g) program, which leads to illegal racial profiling and civil rights abuses.
According to the Frederick County 2012 Annual Report, 88 percent of detainers issued by ICE were for misdemeanors, many of which were traffic violations. In fact, the majority of the over 1,400 people are detained for ICE and processed for deportation in Frederick for non-violent offenses.
On November 28, 2017, the Harford County Sheriff issued a press release summarizing its annual results of the 287(g) program, naming certain stats that didn’t explain the entire picture, so the ACLU of Maryland sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get more information about the individuals they targeted through the program.
ICE is resistant to sharing information about the individuals they have been targeting through the 287(g) program. But local police officers and departments must be held accountable to the local communities they serve. If 287(g) agreements between local police agencies and ICE mean residents are blocked from information about how their police force is operating, that’s a big problem that thwarts government accountability.
That is why in July 2018, the ACLU of Maryland filed a FOIA lawsuit against U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE for more information about the individuals subjected to the Harford County 287(g) program. The lawsuit sought information about individuals who were held for further immigration screening, as well as policies and instructions about how Harford County police were supposed identify who they would target for further screening.
On September 16, 2019, the lawsuit reached a settlement where the ACLU was given information about the Sheriff’s policies, directives, and information on individuals screened for ICE. What the data revealed was concerning. There was an overinflated number of people processed through the 287(g) program by about 33 percent. Accountability is one of our priorities in regards to these programs, and there must be a way to find these elected Sheriffs and ICE responsible for the actions they take and the accuracy of their data.
What are 287(g) Agreements?
- From ACLU of Maryland to Senator Barbara Mikulski (November 26, 2012)
- From ACLU of Maryland to Senator Ben Cardin (November 26, 2012)
- From ACLU of Maryland to Representative-Elect John Delaney (November 26, 2012)
- Migration Policy Institute Report, provides a comprehensive overview of the 287(g) program and highlights problems with Frederick County, among other locations. (Jan 2011)
- ACLU of Georgia, Terror and Isolation in Cobb: How Unchecked Police Power under 287(g) Has Torn Families Apart and Threatened Public Safety (October 2009)
- ACLU of North Carolina and Immigration & Human Rights Policy Clinic, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Laws: 287(g) Program in North Carolina (February 2009)
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Report on Immigration in the United States: Detention and Due Process, 66-67, 144 (December 30, 2010)