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Immigration Policy in NC: The 287(g) Program and Local Enforcement on Immigration Law - Video

By UNC School of Law

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On April 16, 2009 the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity held an event titled "Immigration Policy in North Carolina: The 287(g) Program and Local enforcement of Immigration Law." North Carolina was an early adopter of the 287(g) program, which authorizes state and local law enforcement agents to act as immigration officials--a role traditionally reserved for the federal government. 287(g) has been extolled as a way to catch and deport dangerous criminals, and some public safety groups, politicians and others have advocated for the program's expansion throughout the state and country. But recent studies suggest that where 287(g) has been implemented, lax oversight, unclear guidelines and mismanagement have led to racial profiling and a climate of apprehension and distrust among immigrant communities. Additionally, the vast majority of immigrants detained by 287(g) are picked up for minor traffic infractions - not the grievous societal threat originally identified by the program. The 287(g) Immigration Panel discussed immigration policy nationally and in North Carolina, the effects of the 287(g) program and how attempts have been to modify through congressional appropriations. Panelists were: • Paul Cox, Associate Staff for Homeland Security Appropriations, Office of U.S. Rep. David Price • Hannah Gill, Institute for the Study of the Americas, UNC-Chapel Hill • Mai Nguyen, City and Regional Planning, UNC-Chapel Hill • Deborah Weissman, UNC School of of Law The event was co-sponsored by the Poverty Center, the UNC Office of Economic and Business Development and the UNC Latina/o Studies Working Group. Many of the findings reported at the panel are also available in a report issued by the UNC School of Law Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic. A team of law students led by Professor Weissman, the director of the clinical programs at the law school, teamed up with Katherine Parker and Rebecca Headen of the ACLU in North Carolina Legal Foundation to research and write this report, The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Law. The report describes program weaknesses, including the reluctance of immigrants to interact with police, increased racial profiling, due process infractions and distraction from other law enforcement responsibilities.