Washington, DC - U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced legislation that seeks to block a key component of President Trump's January 25 executive order on immigration. Cosponsors of the bill are Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Tom Carper (D-DE). Representative Mike Quigley (IL-5) is the lead sponsor of the US House companion to the PROTECT Immigration Act.
The PROTECT Immigration Act would rescind the statutory authority for the federal government's 287(g) Program, which allows the Department of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law.
Section 8 of President Trump's January 25th executive order sought to radically expand the 287(g) Program, requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to attempt to engage in more of these agreements with state and local governments. Before Trump's executive order, the Obama administration had scaled back the program, and there are currently at least 32 law enforcement agencies in 16 states engaged in these agreements.
Sen. Booker said, "President Trump's executive order actually undermines public safety. That's why we didn’t enter into these agreements when I was mayor of Newark. We knew that using local police to detain suspected undocumented immigrants who committed nonviolent crimes was a waste of limited resources, distracted officers from fighting serious crimes, and chilled residents' cooperation with law enforcement. Immigration enforcement should be the job of the federal government, not states and communities. It's time we revoke the federal government’s authority to deputize state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law."
Anthony Ambrose, Newark Public Safety Director, said, "Deputizing local police to use their limited resources to enforce federal immigration laws--including to investigate, apprehend, and detain suspected undocumented immigrants actually harms law enforcement efforts and does not make our communities safer. Out of fear of detention and deportation, many residents are less likely to contact the police when they need help and are less likely to cooperate with police efforts to fight more serious crime. In the interest of public safety, this federal authority should be revoked."
The text of the PROTECT Immigration Act can be found here.
The following organizations have endorsed the PROTECT Immigration Act:
1. Alliance for Citizenship
2. American Civil Liberties Union
3. American Federation of Teachers
4. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
5. America's Voice Education Fund
6. Center for Community Change
7. Center for Popular Democracy
8. Franciscan Action Network
9. Immigrant Defense Project
10. Immigrant Legal Resource Center
11. National Immigrant Justice Center
12. National Immigration Law Center
13. National Council of La Raza
14. National Day Laborer Organizing Network
15. Service Employees International Union
16. Tahirih Justice Center
17. T'ruah; The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
18. United We Dream
19. Voto Latino