Border police bait & switch
President Obama is suing Arizona for having its cops identify and round up illegal aliens—even though he’s also deputizing them to do the same thing.
That’s right: Under a little-known federal program called ICE 287(g), the administration has continued to enlist at least eight Arizona state law-enforcement agencies to carry out the procedures at issue in the new Arizona law, which goes into effect July 29.
The program dates to a 1995 law signed by President Bill Clinton, which allows US immigration officials to train local law-enforcement officers and authorize them to ID and detain illegals. After 9/11, the Homeland Security Department entered into official partnership agreements with various police departments, allowing them to search federal databases for illegals.
The program spread across the country, including to Arizona. It now involves 71 state and local police agencies. Indeed, Homeland Security has even conscripted Arizona state troopers to help it enforce federal immigration rules. Obama’s Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, OK’d that agreement and another deal with a second state law-enforcement agency when she was Arizona’s governor.
All told, the feds have deputized 1,100-plus cops in 26 states to round up illegals—including officers in the liberal bastions of New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Maryland and Massachusetts.
And the program has continued virtually unabated in the Obama years—despite calls by the ACLU and Hispanic groups to shut it down. The ACLU complains the program promotes an “anti-immigrant agenda” and encourages “racial profiling and civil-rights abuses”—the very same complaints Obama’s been making about the Arizona law.
Which, presumably, is why the president didn’t mention federal 287(g) program in his immigration “reform” speech, in which he scolded Arizona for its “divisive” and “ill-conceived” crackdown on increasingly violent illegal immigrants pouring across the border. “Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable,” Obama complained.
“Unenforceable”? Hardly. Just since 2006, more than 110,000 illegal immigrants have been ID’d and rounded up for deportation under the extremely successful federal-state partnership, which is finally putting a dent in the backlog of criminal aliens in the United States.
Last year, one out of every five immigration-related arrests in the country was made by local police.
In its lawsuit against Arizona, the administration argues the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over immigration and border security. Yet it’s farming out that role to state and local police under 287(g).
And Gov. Jan Brewer says she signed the Arizona statute to help enforce federal law, not to supplant it. In fact, the state’s new training video prepping cops for the new crackdown advises them to turn over any illegals they nab to either ICE agents or “the local 287(g)-certified officer.”
Local cops across the country are already directly involved in federal border security—the Obama administration just prefers not to acknowledge it. Its rhetoric and legal filings utterly ignore what it’s doing with its other hand, raising even greater suspicion that its opposition to Arizona’s new law is pure politics designed to energize the Democratic base ahead of November’s elections.
If Arizona’s law usurps federal authority, what about those 71 agreements the feds have made with state and local police under 287(g)? Are they unconstitutional, too?
Perhaps this hypocritical administration should look into suing itself.
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration.”