The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement just cut off the Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office’s access to the Secure Communities program and terminated an agreement which lets them detain individuals in the country illegally after their initial arrest.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement that the decision was based on the Justice Department’s findings of discriminatory policing practices by MCSO and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.“Discrimination undermines law enforcement and erodes the public trust. DHS will not be a party to such practices,” Napolitano said. “Accordingly, and effective immediately, DHS is terminating MCSO’s 287(g) jail model agreement and is restricting the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office access to the Secure Communities program.”
The 287(g) jail model agreement is the program which allows officers to screen individuals they arrest for immigration status and put detainers on them once they have been booked into jail. The restrictions on Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office means that when the office sends data into the FBI after they book someone they wouldn’t get any data back about their immigration status back.
Napolitano said that DHS “will utilize federal resources for the purpose of identifying and detaining those individuals who meet U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) immigration enforcement priorities.” DHS, she said, “will continue to enforce federal immigration laws in Maricopa County in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.”
Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said in a statement that they were “celebrating the actions the Department of Homeland Security has taken today” but believed the actions “should have taken place Janet Napolitano’s first day on the job directing the agency.”
The federal government, Newman said “should learn the lessons of Maricopa County and end these ICE Access programs immediately before they create another Arpaio somewhere else.”
More on DOJ’s findings against MCSO here.