U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has suspended the 287(g) program in a North Carolina county where the Justice Department cited the sheriff’s office for discriminatory practices against Latinos. The decision comes following the release of results of the two-year investigation into the actions of the office of Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson. The sheriff’s deputies have made a disproportionate number of unnecessary arrests of members of the local Latino community with in an effort to increase the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Alamance County has enforced 287(g) since 2007, when Sheriff Johnson signed up for the program. 287(g) permits law enforcement personnel to determine the immigration status of people they detain, and has been the source of many racial profiling complaints in the county.
In a statement, ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said that “The Department of Homeland Security is troubled by the Department of Justice’s findings of discriminatory policing practices within the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office… Accordingly, and effective immediately, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is terminating ACSO’s 287(g) jail model agreement and is restricting their access to the Secure Communities program.”
She added that, “ICE will continue to enforce federal immigration laws in Alamance 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.”
This is the second time this year that ICE has suspended the enforcement of a 287(g) contract. In June, the Obama administration cancelled the program’s contract with all state and local police agencies in Arizona.