Joe Arpaio Reined In? Homeland Security Revises 287(g) Agreements Nationally
Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security has just issued a press release announcing new, standardized 287(g) agreements that all law enforcement agencies participating in the program will have to sign, including Sheriff Joe's MCSO, which boasts a massive 160-man 287(g)-trained force, the largest in the nation. "DHS and ICE will begin working with their current 287(g) partner agencies to re-sign the standardized agreements," reads the press release. "Ultimately, only those agencies with newly signed agreements will be permitted to continue enforcing immigration law."
Furthermore, there will be provisions that might put a crimp in Arpaio's future anti-immigrant dragnets in Maricopa County. "The new MOA aligns 287(g) local operations with major ICE enforcement priorities," states the announcement, "specifically, the identification and removal of criminal aliens."
Speaking to me via phone from DC, DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said by "criminal aliens," DHS means "people who present a public safety threat." That is, persons suspected of "major crimes," such as rape, murder, drug running, etc. Not car washers, landscapers, or folks running water slides. Indeed, a side by side comparison provided by Chandler of the key aspects of the old agreements versus the new agreements details ICE's three levels of prioritization regarding criminal aliens. Currently, the MCSO does not make any such prioritization during its raids and sweeps.
Chandler also indicated that if Arpaio wanted to use his 287(g) authority in a sweep or worksite raid, an "ICE supervisor" would have to approve "a copy of the operation plan" for the action. He told me DHS was asking for these new agreements to be signed within 90 days by the respective LEAs involved.
The press release also makes clear that Arpaio cannot arrest someone on a bogus charge just so they can end up being turned over to ICE. "To address concerns that that individuals may be arrested from minor offenses as a guise to initiate removal proceedings," says the release, "the new agreement explains that participating local law enforcement agencies are required to pursue all criminal charges that originally caused the offender to be taken into custody." Chandler clarified that no matter what charge an individual is originally arrested for, the law enforcement agency will have to "see it through to the end," if 287(g) authority is used during the arrest.
The bad news with announcement is that Arpaio will be able to keep his 287(g) agreement with ICE, if he accepts the new dictates. This, despite being under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over civil rights violations that are a direct result of the use of his 287(g) authority. Should Arpaio accept these new rules, he could still conduct sweeps and raids using his state authority, but using his federal authority in these situations would be problematic, and, subject to administrative approval by ICE and DHS. These new rules are not only for Arpaio. ICE has 66 agreements with law enforcement agencies across the country, all of which will have to be redone. Eleven new agreements under the new language were announced today as well.
Will Arpaio accept this curtailment of his 287(g) power with a shrug? Or will he denounce the new rules, thumbing his bulbous nose once more at federal authority? Something tells me we won't have to wait long to find out.
Sheriff vows to continue immigration enforcement
PHOENIX (AP) - Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he'll keep up his immigration enforcement efforts even if he decides to opt out of a deal giving 160 of his officers the power to enforce federal immigration law.