Since its creation in 1996, the federal 287(g) program has produced ongoing devastating consequences for communities nationwide, including in Texas. But on June 30, twenty-five Texas counties will have the opportunity to end their involvement with the disastrous program when their agreements with the federal government expire.
 
If you’re unfamiliar with this program, here’s the short version: 287(g) agreements give authority to local policing agencies to engage in federal immigration enforcement activities and formalize collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that deports thousands of immigrants each year. 
 
The ACLU of Texas strongly opposes the renewal of these 287(g) agreements and recently sent letters to the commissioners of the 25 Texas counties in which the program is set to expire urging them to end their participation. We also urge the termination of other counties’ participation in the program, including the 18 Texas counties that have signed and applied “jail agreements” to assist with the federal government’s ongoing attempt to ramp up its immigrant deportation machine.
 
Here are three reasons why Texas counties should reject 287(g) agreements in their communities:

  1. Participating in the program undermines community trust and safety.
    When sheriff's deputies engage in immigration enforcement, fewer people report crimes for fear of being deported, thus jeopardizing community safety and trust. In fact, a study of how increased police involvement with immigration enforcement found 70 percent of undocumented immigrants are less likely to contact authorities about a crime they have witnessed or endured for fear of being asked about their immigration status or worse, being taken into custody. By ending 287(g) programs, undocumented immigrants and their loved ones that reside in the community will feel safer from incrimination and will not have to be silent victims. 
  2.  
  3. Prioritizing immigration enforcement neglects fighting violent crime.
    Community safety also becomes less of a priority when law enforcement uses their time and resources to participate in immigration enforcement rather than combating violent, more urgent crime in their community. Counties already struggle with funding local law enforcement operations; branching out to act as a deportation arm will stretch already limited resources such as jail space. 
  4.  
  5. 287(g) agreements drain county finances.
    Participating in the 287(g) program costs counties a significant sum of money. According to the American Immigration Council’s analysis on 287(g), state and local governments sustain most of the program’s costs. For example, before Harris County terminated their 287(g) agreement, the program consumed $675,000 for its operation, which included housing, travel, and training expenses for law enforcement. In lieu of spending taxpayer money on participating in the program, counties should spend budget dollars on community safety, not on funding a federal responsibility. 
If you live in one of the 25 counties whose 287(g) agreement is set to expire on June 30, 2019, click your county's contact information below to tell your county officials you are against local law enforcement resources being used to make Texas communities less safe. 
 

25 Counties in Texas have 287(g) agreements

County Contact Date signed View the agreement*
Aransas June 30, 2017 Aransas County 287(g) agreement
Burnet February 2, 2018 Burnet County 287(g) agreement
Calhoun June 28, 2017 Calhoun County 287(g) agreement
Chambers July 17, 2017 Chambers County 287(g) agreement
DeWitt June 30, 2017 DeWitt County 287(g) agreement
Galveston June 30, 2017 Galveston County 287(g) agreement
Goliad June 26, 2017 Goliad County 287(g) agreement
Jackson January 26, 2017 Jackson County 287(g) agreement
Kendall March 26, 2018 Kendall County 287(g) agreement
Lavaca June 30, 2017 Lavaca County 287(g) agreement
Lubbock November 16, 2016 Lubbock County 287(g) agreement
Matagorda July 27, 2017 Matagorda County 287(g) agreement
Montgomery June 28, 2017 Montgomery County 287(g) agreement
Nueces January 18, 2018 Nueces County 287(g) agreement
Potter January 25, 2018 Potter County 287(g) agreement
Refugio June 28, 2017 Refugio County 287(g) agreement
Rockwall January 25, 2018 Rockwall County 287(g) agreement
Smith April 25, 2017 Smith County 287(g) agreement
Tarrant June 19, 2017 Tarrant County 287(g) agreement
Terrell January 25, 2018 Tarrant County 287(g) agreement
Victoria July 12, 2017 Victoria County 287(g) agreement
Walker July 20, 2017 Walker County 287(g) agreement
Waller May 22, 2017 Waller County 287(g) agreement
Wharton July 17, 2017 Wharton County 287(g) agreement
Williamson February 8, 2018 Williamson County 287(g) agreement

 

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