Local Police Serve the Community. NOT ICE
This is not just about keeping families together, or pointing out that zero tolerance is unconstitutional. It’s about how we’ve been complicit in a years-long, growing program of deporting innocent people across the country and here in Maryland that started with immoral and unconstitutional 287(g) programs that deputize local police as federal ICE agents.
287(g) is a program that gives the job – immigration enforcement -- meant for the federal government to local law enforcement who receive little training and often use practices that amount to racial profiling.
Three Maryland counties – Frederick, Anne Arundel and Harford County – are actively using local police agencies to target and cage immigrants for ICE as part of the federal 287(g) program.
The ACLU of Maryland strongly opposes the 287(g) program, believing it has led to illegal racial profiling and civil rights abuses while diverting scarce resources from traditional local law enforcement functions and distorting immigration enforcement priorities.
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 detained for ICE and processed for deportation in Frederick for non-violent offenses.
Facts are facts, and we need to know the truth
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 request to get more information about the individuals they targeted through the program.
Since November 2017, the ACLU of Maryland has been fighting to get more information from both the Harford County Sheriff’s office through an MPIA request, and through ICE, through a FOIA request. Although the Sheriff has the data that we are asking for (he provided some statistics, but doesn’t provide all of the statistics/demographics/raw data), he claims it’s ICE’s data to be shared, not theirs.
ICE has also been extremely resistant to any sharing of information about the individuals they’ve 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 blocks government accountability.
That is why in July 2018 the ACLU of Maryland filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE. The lawsuit seeks full 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.