After North Carolina Immigration Raids, Price Pushes to End Heartless Enforcement Policies
WASHINGTON, DC (June 11, 2019) – Today, Congressman Price (D-NC) released a statement on the inclusion of report language in the FY20 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which directly targets Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) abuses in North Carolina. This includes raids targeting Wake and Durham Counties and ICE’s entrapment of an individual when he kept an appointment at Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In March, Congressman Price, along with the North Carolina Democratic delegation expressed concerns to ICE regarding reports of seemingly indiscriminate raids in North Carolina. Congressman Price included report language in the FY20 Homeland Security Appropriations bill directing ICE to avoid sensitive locations (such as schools, health care facilities, and places of worship) while adding additional locations to that category, including courthouses and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices. In the last year, there have been several instances of ICE enforcement actions in these sensitive locations in our state.
In addition, Congressman Price included report language seeking stricter oversight of the 287(g) program, which facilitates voluntary immigration enforcement agreements between local law enforcement and ICE that allow for prolonged detention of undocumented immigrants in local custody. Mr. Price’s report language clarifies that ICE may not target localities that choose not to participate in this voluntary program, and also requires a review of the 287(g) program by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is not only affecting those seeking asylum at the border, but also individuals and families with longstanding ties here in the Triangle,” said Congressman Price. “This year, we’ve seen reports of raids and increased enforcement at North Carolina bus stops, court houses, and government facilities, as well as the targeting of jurisdictions which have terminated agreements with ICE. These arbitrary and heartless policies must be reversed, and I’m pleased the Appropriations Committee included my report language to expand protections at sensitive locations, including USCIS offices, and to require additional oversight of the 287(g) program. This language seeks to clarify and prevent many of the egregious ICE immigration enforcement policies we’ve seen deployed across the country and here in North Carolina.”
The report language text for each section is below.
- Immigration Enforcement at Sensitive Locations. (page 34) —The Committee understands it is ICE’s policy that enforcement actions at or near sensitive locations—identified by ICE as schools, healthcare facilities, places of worship, religious or civil ceremonies or observances, and public demonstrations—should generally be avoided, and require either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official for exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action. The policy is intended to ensure that anyone seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at such locations are free to do so without fear or hesitation. The Committee directs ICE to follow this policy and to broaden the scope of the category to include: courthouses; bus stops; USCIS offices; mental health, emergency, and social services centers; and other locations where community impacts should be better balanced against ICE law enforcement requirements.
- 287(g) Program. (page 30) —A provision in the bill requires ICE to provide a report to the Committees and the public regarding 287(g) steering committee membership and activities; performance data; the number of individuals placed into removal proceedings by 287(g)- designated officers; and any plans for future expansion of or changes to the program. ICE, OIG, and CRCL are also directed to provide rigorous oversight of the 287(g) program, and ICE is directed to notify the Committee prior to implementing any significant changes to the program, including any changes to training requirements, data collection, selection criteria, or the jurisdictions with which ICE has agreements. The Committee also reminds ICE that communities are not legally required to enter into such agreements and that immigration enforcement should not be used either to induce communities to enter or deter them from discontinuing 287(g) agreements.
The Committee directs GAO to follow up on its January 2009 report on management controls in the 287(g) program (GAO–09–109). GAO’s review should include a review of the content of and compliance with memoranda of agreement with participating law enforcement agencies; the establishment and role of community steering committees; the extent to which ICE has guidance for jurisdictions with 287(g) and intergovernmental service agreements to fulfill their separate roles and responsibilities for each agreement; safeguards to ensure that state or local officers perform immigration enforcement functions only as authorized by their 287(g) agreement; and 287(g) arrest data, broken down by jurisdiction and offense, among other factors.