Local Legislators Targeting Immigrants With Criminal Convictions

Under a federal plan known as the “287g” program, local legislators including Ron Ball, R-Carmel are seeking to arm local police with the ability to start deportation proceedings against Putnam County illegal immigrants convicted of felonies. Essentially, Ball’s plan is to implement the federal government’s 287(g) program on a statewide basis, by which local police or correction officials would perform deportation duties normally handled by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, known as “ICE.” Advocates of the 287(g) program say that it only targets serious criminals who are in the U.S. illegally and whose immigration status is not discovered until after the arrest. However, opponents of the program are numerous and widespread, including such groups as The Hudson Valley Community Coalition, the Rockland County Immigration Coalition, and the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, who state that the program would destroy trust between police and immigrants and lead to racial profiling.

Damon K. Jones of the Westchester County Corrections Department noted that “involving local law enforcement in illegal immigration will increase the existing poor relationship of law enforcement and the immigrant and minority communities.” Another substantial problem which Mr. Ball will have to confront in attempting to implement his plan is that State and local officials have made clear that they will not take custody of federal detainees.