Thursday, July 19, 2012

287g Must Go

ATLANTA, GA – Georgia civil liberties and community-based organizations yesterday joined organizations from around the country to renew their calls on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to end 287(g) in Georgia.  In late May, the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Coalicion de Lideres Latinos (CLILA), and Georgia Detention Watch submitted specific cases to ICE in each of the four counties currently with a 287(g) Agreement illustrating the harmful impact of the program.

“As the ACLU of Georgia’s reports on Cobb and Gwinnett and further documentation have illustrated, 287(g) has torn families apart and led to terror and isolation in Georgia communities,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.  “It is time for ICE to end this racial profiling program in Georgia.”

The ACLU of Georgia also has a complaint pending with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS CRCL) asking the agencies to initiate an investigation into racial profiling and discriminatory policing practices in Cobb and Gwinnett.

“Despite the ‘intended’ purpose of the 287(g) program to make our communities safer, in practice, it has done the opposite,” said Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR.  “By essentially condoning racial profiling against immigrants, 287(g) has had devastating consequences:  Many immigrants in Georgia are now fearful of driving, even between work, home, and church, and afraid of reaching out to law enforcement for help.  Entire areas have been deserted following intense enforcement, devastating local businesses.”

The organizations also signed onto a July 16 national letter calling on the Obama Administration to end immigration partnerships with local police in Arizona and states with laws similar to Arizona’s SB1070, including Georgia.

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“The human cost of implementing this program is high, since this initiative has caused widespread fear among citizens, legal residents, and undocumented immigrants alike.  Business owners, educators, and religious leaders are all concerned about the impact,” said America Gruner, President of CLILA.  “Most people who have been detained in Whitfield County are workers, moms taking their children to school, and students going to classes.  287(g) is unjust, unnecessary, and inhumane.  It has to go.”

The groups’ May 31 submission to ICE can be viewed here:

The ACLU of Georgia’s August 2010 complaint to the DOJ Civil Rights Division and DHS CRCL can be viewed here:

The ACLU of Georgia’s report on implementation of 287(g) in Cobb, “Terror and Isolation in Cobb: How Unchecked Police Power under 287(g) Has Torn Families Apart and Threatened Public Safety,” can be viewed here:

The ACLU of Georgia’s report on implementation of 287(g) in Gwinnett, “The Persistence of Racial Profiling in Gwinnett, Time for Accountability, Transparency, and an End to 287(g),” can be viewed here:

The national letter which the Georgia groups signed onto can be viewed here:

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