Upon graduating from the police academy, officers swear an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
However, over the years, the definition of “enemy” seems to have shifted from violent criminals to nonviolent noncitizens.
Our nation’s laws and policies need to clearly delineate between the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) procedures and those of state and local police officers so that all people in the United States, regardless of naturalization status, feel safe enough to call the police when a true emergency arises.
If you or a loved one has experienced targeting by the police and is currently undergoing removal proceedings, please contact a defense lawyer to explore your options. Our immigration lawyers at Fayad Law in Richmond and Fairfax, VA, can help you with various immigration issues, including:
- Removal and deportation
- Employment immigration
- Criminal defense
- Citizenship and naturalization
- Family immigration
Separation of ICE and the Police
Immigration is a hot button topic both for those first-generation Americans born in the United States to immigrant parents and those who have followed the time-consuming and financially devastating legal process for entrance.
For many noncitizens in the U.S., especially those from developing countries, desperation for employment and the promise of a better life push them to immigrate to the United States without a valid visa or to overstay their temporary visa. This makes them undocumented.
Typically, these individuals accept dangerous careers in agriculture and construction where employers will often turn a blind eye to their undocumented immigration status. People in this status are the prime targets of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who seek out to deport them.
One of the most glaring issues that members of immigrant communities face is the collaboration between ICE agents and state and local law enforcers.
The 287(g) Program
In 1996, Section 287(g) became part of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. According to ICE, the “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 287(g) Program enhances the safety and security of communities by creating partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify and remove noncitizens who are amenable to removal from the United States.”
Initially, the purpose of the 287(g) program was to assist ICE in detaining and deporting noncitizens, with police officers acting as immigration officials and targeting noncitizens for removal.
This partnership has added to ICE’s daily average removal of 500 immigrants. It has also significantly backfired by creating an inhumane and dangerous environment for noncitizens and citizens alike.
When a 911 Call Leads to Deportation
Suppose a young women who is a United States citizen lives with her grandmother, an undocumented noncitizen. The young woman finds herself in a relationship with an abusive man and wants to call the police to protect herself. However, if she makes the 911 call, she risks the police finding, arresting, and deporting her grandmother.
Out of fear of the police and a longing to keep her family member safe, she doesn’t call the police, and the abuse escalates as she becomes a victim of chronic domestic violence. It is an all-too-common and thoroughly unacceptable scenario.
Due to 287(g) agreements that empower local police to act as immigration agents, noncitizens are less likely to report violent criminals and are more likely to become victims of sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence.
Everyone should be able to call 911 for help without fear of the officers who answer the call. With a renewed separation between ICE and state and local law enforcement, police officers would remain available to fulfill their intended roles as protectors and defenders.
If you or someone you know can relate to the above scenario, please contact our team at Fayad Law to speak with one of our immigration lawyers today.
Racial Profiling and Police Reform
ICE officials receive specialized training distinct from that of police officers. When the federal, state, and local institutions’ objectives merged, this lack of training became starkly evident within the police force. An uptick in racial profiling became painfully apparent.
Immigrants and especially people of color often experience discrimination such as being pulled over for a broken taillight and then having to prove their citizenship, among other harsh consequences. It often leads to deportation. This bias based purely on how a person looks is insensitive and deplorable.
Please contact our immigration lawyers at Fayad Law if this situation sounds familiar and you need legal representation.
Our lawyers will fight to keep you or your loved ones within the United States by:
- Filing a reopen motion
- Requesting TPS status
- Reviewing your rights under NACARA
DEI Training (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)
Currently, a widespread movement for police reform is underway. Many police officers will need to undergo diversity, equity, and inclusion training to end racially and ethnically biased targeting of civilians.
While this movement is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, decoupling ICE from the state and local police force by revoking Section 287(g) would further stop injustice and harassment against immigrants.
Law enforcement officers should focus on their primary purpose, which is protecting and serving the community, without being asked to shoulder the workload of the federal government.
Contact an Immigration Lawyer at Fayad Law, P.C.
If you have been searching “immigration lawyer near me,” please call an experienced immigration attorney from Fayad Law, with offices in Richmond and Fairfax, Virginia. We care about your rights and will fight for you to remain in the United States.
Our team understands the immigration process inside and out. Our founder, Nash Joseph Fayad, immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 1998 and proudly became a naturalized United States citizen in 2006.
Since its founding, Fayad Law has remained dedicated to championing human rights and helping people achieve their American Dream. Please contact our immigration law firm at 804-249-4747 or complete our online form to discuss your rights and review your immigration case today.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.