The daily has a front-page article detailing the 500 groups they claim signed onto a letter to President Obama, demanding an end to the federal 287(g) program allowing local authorities to enforce the country’s immigration laws. The program gives local police and jail officials the authority to question people they arrest, or who have been booked into jails, about their immigration status.
Among the usual left-wing suspects are the National Immigration Law Center, ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, Pax Christi, the NAACP and La Raza. They charge the program does nothing to solve the massive problems associated with illegal immigration and has led to civil-rights abuses by local police — most notably Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, with whom they have had an ongoing battle — aided and abetted by the Arizona Republic newspaper, which is on an open-borders crusade.
Even though the administration has so weakened 287(g) as to make it nearly ineffectual, the groups are angry that the program has been expanded by Obama signing agreements with 11 law-enforcement agencies.
“Local police should not be in the business of enforcing immigration laws because it terrorizes immigrant communities and causes racial profiling,” said Salvador Reza, a radical illegal alien advocate who has staged demonstrations and runs the Macehualli Work Center in Phoenix. The center is part of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, one of the groups calling for an end to the program.
But the program is indisputably effective, resulting in the identification of over 100,000 illegals nationally, including nearly 30,000 in Maricopa County.
In North Carolina, former sheriff Jim Pendergraph said jail officials there identified more than 4,000 illegal immigrants who were booked. “If it’s used right, it is a very beneficial tool, and if there is a problem with it, then fix that and don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said. Pendergraph also ran the ICE office that coordinated the program with local and state agencies.
It has been so popular that Homeland Security had to reject dozens of applications due to funding shortfalls, said Rep. Lamar Smith, (R-TX), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-author of the law that created the program. “Local law-enforcement agencies deserve our thanks for helping to remove illegal immigrants from our communities before they threaten American lives and property,” he said.
So the big Question remains: Why would these groups queue up to undermine the sovereignty of the United States? And why is the orderly and legal immigration process, among the most accessible in the industrialized world, so abhorrent to them?