Rights Groups and Residents of Virginia Urge DHS to Reject Statewide 287(g) Program

Advocates, including ACLU of Virginia, ask DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to reject Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell’s request

Arlington, VA–Numerous faith groups, civil and human rights organizations, and government officials will hold a press conference today at noon at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish, Room 103, 3304 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22201, to ask the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reject Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s request to allow the Virginia Department of State Police to enter into a 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  A 287(g) agreement, named after a provision of federal law, authorizes local or state law enforcement agencies to enforce civil or criminal violations of federal immigration law.

During the press conference, the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO) will present a formal letter addressed to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano urging her to reject Gov. McDonnell’s request.  In addition, VACOLAO members will speak about the negative effects of other local 287(g) programs already in place in Virginia.  These negative effects include an increase in racial profiling and corresponding decrease in trust of police by the immigrant community–including legal residents and and citizens of Latino descent–as well as diversion of law enforcement resources.

“The result of these 287(g) agreements has been abuse and illegal profiling by local law enforcement in Virginia and across the country,” said Edgar Aranda, chair of VACOLAO and organizer for the Legal Aid Justice Center.  ”Immigration enforcement belongs in the hands of federal immigration agents trained in federal immigration and racial profiling laws, not in the hands of state or local law enforcement.”

“As one might expect, state and local enforcement of federal immigration law has presented challenges for immigrants,” said Jorge Figueredo, ACLU of Virginia director of racial justice and immigrants’ rights.  ”Since my office opened in Northern Virginia in June, 2008, I have received cases of racial profiling and excessive use of force by local police against immigrants, arising from Prince William County, Manassas, Loudoun, and Herndon, among others–jurisdictions where 287(g) agreements between local law enforcement agencies and ICE are already in place.”

The Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations is an umbrella group which includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Legal Aid Justice Center, League of United Latin American Citizens, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, American Jewish Committee, Arlington County Board Member J. Walter Tejada, Asian Pacific American Legal Aid Resource Center, The Hispanic Community Dialogue in Virginia Beach, Hispanic National Bar Association, Latino Federation of Greater Washington, Shirlington Employment and Education Center, Tenants and Workers United, Presente.org, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and other organizations.

A copy of VACOLAO’s letter to Secretary Napolitano is available online at http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/VACOLAO-Letter-to-Janet-Napolitano-_DHS_-287_g_-083110.pdf.

Contacts:

Jorge Figueredo
Director of Racial Justice and Immigrants’ Rights
703-268-8479

Kent Willis
Executive Director
804-644-8022