Lawsuit challenging 287(g) Program filed in Atlanta

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Three illegal immigrants residing in Georgia, Maria Lourdes Segobiano-De Soto, Corina Garcia Albarran, and Luis Magana, filed a lawsuit this month in the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, challenging the federal 287(g) program. Albarran et al v. Morton et al, 1:10-cv-03261-CAP (Oct. 8, 2010). The plaintiffs include a Mexican citizen who has stayed in the U.S. following the expiration of her 2004 authorization and was subsequently arrested after a car crash for not having a driver’s license; an illegal immigrant arrested on a shoplifting charge; and an El Salvadoran immigrant who was authorized to work in the U.S. but later arrested on felony forgery charges for using alleged false immigration documents to renew his driver’s license.

These individuals claim that “Immigration officials have broad discretionary power and should not be issuing a notice to appear—which initiates deportation proceedings—for illegal immigrants who are arrested and discovered to be in the country illegally after initially having been stopped for relatively minor offenses.”

The complainants fail to recognize that illegal immigration is a violation of law. Their blatant disregard for the rules and regulations within the United States must not be tolerated, and their claims would create a serious judicial impediment to enforcement if accepted by a federal judge.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 287(g) program allows state and local law enforcement agencies to executive a memorandum of understanding with ICE. Under the MOU, the state or local entity receives delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.

The Associated Press reported that ICE officials claimed the 287(g) program in Georgia has been used to identify more than 14,690 illegal immigrants for deportation in the four years since its implementation in the state. In Georgia, four counties and the Department for Public Safety have signed agreements to participate in the program.

ICE director John Morton, Executive Office for Immigration Review director Thomas Snow, Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, and an investigator with the Georgia Department of Public Safety are some of the officials named as defendants. According to the complaint, the aliens claim that ICE has improperly delegated its power to local law enforcement and “failed to train, supervise and otherwise oversee sheriff’s deputies in Cobb County,” where the illegal aliens claim to reside.

The aliens are seeking a class representative status on behalf of “all Hispanic persons who have been or will be restrained and interrogated within the State of Georgia” by local law enforcement under the 287(g) program.

The 287(g) program is intended to train state and local officers to enforce immigration law and enable them to identify and detain illegal aliens, who are then transferred into ICE custody. These are important and effective tools needed by local law enforcement to protect the rights and security of United States citizens.