February 23, 2017

Los Angeles, CA - Please attribute the following statement on the Trump administration's plan to revive and expand the use of the controversial program known as 287 (g) that deputizes local law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz:

"Of the many execrable elements of the Donald Trump/John Kelly executive orders and implementation memoranda on border security and interior enforcement, the attempt to insinuate the administration's retrogressive and dangerous enforcement 'policies' into local law enforcement has received less attention than such a pernicious objective warrants. While the main goal of these pronouncements is self-evidently to sow fear and confusion in immigrant communities, it is cities and counties and all their residents who should fear the Trump/Kelly endeavor to revive and expand 287(g) agreements. Indeed, every local leader should run swiftly from this enticement to sign contracts to embroil local officers in immigration enforcement.

While Kelly terms such agreements a 'force multiplier', what they really multiply is liability. Joining a 'force' that is uncontrolled in following a directive that virtually everyone is a priority -- yielding authority to the whims and biases of agents nationwide -- is an invitation that all responsible local officials should reject.

Signing a 287(g) agreement will immediately cause community division and distrust of law enforcement to spike palpably and significantly. Localities who reach such agreements will immediately find their public safety efforts rendered more difficult, as immigrant and immigrant-connected victims and witnesses withdraw from cooperation with police, to the detriment of all residents in the city or county involved.

In addition, localities that sign 287(g) agreements will almost inevitably face serious litigation and liability for the constitutional violations that follow from involving under-trained and inadequately supervised local officers in enforcing complicated federal immigration law. Racial profiling, denial of due process, unconstitutional seizures, and other unlawful restraints will result in serious liability for local governments.

MALDEF therefore calls upon all local governments to reject existing or potential 287(g) agreements to embroil local officers in the Trump Administration's Reign of Anti-Immigrant Terror cum Reign of Legal Error. Those jurisdictions who do continue or commence such 287(g) agreements will face increased public scrutiny and the near inevitability of litigation over constitutional depredations.

Say no to complicity; say no to 287(g)!"

A list of localities with 287(g) agreements can be found on the DHS website:

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund