WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) andU.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) reintroduced the Protecting the Rights Of Towns against federal Enforcement contrary to Constitutional Tenets for Immigration Act, or the PROTECT Immigration Act, legislation which would end the deputization of local and state police departments to enforce immigration law.

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.

“Immigration enforcement should not be delegated to state and local police departments that are not equipped to enforce immigration laws – it is the job of the federal government.” said Senator Booker. “These agreements undermine public safety and result in the racial profiling and harassment of members of the immigrant community.”

“The Trump administration’s policies spent years fomenting a culture of fear in immigrant communities and eroding the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they protect. Ending programs that turn local law enforcement into immigration enforcement departments is a critical step in the process of returning to an immigration system that prioritizes justice over fear,” said Quigley. “We must enact legislation that ensures immigration enforcement always remains the purview of the federal government because local and state law enforcement already have a job to do—protecting and serving their communities.”

“While we’ve begun a new presidential administration, we still need to put an end to our country’s long history of targeting, profiling, and tearing apart immigrant communities while criminalizing those who call them home,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “A critical first step is ending the unnecessary deputization of local and state police departments to enforce outdated federal immigration law. Doing so will not only make our communities more safe but will begin to humanely reform our broken immigration system so it’s focused on dignity, fairness, and family unity.

The 287(g) Program 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. In 2017, then-PresidentTrump issued an executive order to drastically expand the program.

Senator Booker also sent a letter today to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging the federal agency to terminate all existing 287(g) agreements.

Specifically, the PROTECT Immigration Act would:

  • Repeal the statutory authority for the 287(g) Program; and
  • Clarify that state and local law enforcement lack “inherent authority” to arrest people for suspected immigration offenses. 

The following Senators Co-sponsored this legislation: Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Full text of the legislation can be viewed here and the full text of the letter can be viewed here.