The Open Society Equality and Opportunity Fund is pleased to share a blog post by Muzaffar Chishti, a director at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and co-author of the new report Delegation and Divergence: A Study of 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement [download pdf]. This study helps to ensure that the public can engage in fact-based discourse about the controversial Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g), which grants state and local law agencies federal immigration enforcement authority.
The 287(g) program has captured increasing attention in recent years. It has led to racial profiling and civil rights abuses while diverting scarce resources from law enforcement’s traditional public safety functions. It has also raised questions about the practical and financial costs incurred by police in enforcing federal laws. In addition, debate has increased about whether immigrants detained through the 287(g) program are the "dangerous criminals" the program was created to target.
Delegation and Divergence looks at these concerns and goes beyond them. The report makes clear that deputization of police to enforce federal immigration laws generates distrust and makes people less likely to report crimes. It has also resulted in increased financial costs and substantial decreases of the Latino population in certain jurisdictions.
The Migration Policy Institute is one of many groups we support that has weighed in on the 287(g) debate. The Open Society Foundations also fund Justice Strategies, Detention Watch Network, Border Network for Human Rights, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network—all of which have argued for the termination of 287(g) and a clear separation between the work of local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.