On Monday October 12th, Houston SDS distributed fliers in front of the MD Anderson Library on campus and performed street theater about the racist nature of the 287(g) program, which gives local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration law, which is a federal responsibility. The text of the flier is below, as well as uploaded as a jpg and pdf [ Read It! (PDF)] that we encourage supporters of immigrant rights and racial justice to distribute.
On Wednesday October 14th, we hosted a workshop by the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center about the 287(g) program and the efforts taking place in Houston to get the city and county to terminate their agreements with the federal government through this program. We are working on a letter writing campaign to the Harris County Commisioners and the mayoral candidates for them to strongly oppose the implementation of this program, which is a waste of local resources and a violation of civil rights. 287(g) is a program that should be scrapped in Houston and nationwide.
If you are not familiar with 287(g), check out This Report by Justice Strategies which comprehensively documents the problems with this program.
Right now the city of Houston has ended its agreement with the Department of Homeland Security. Mayor Bill White has declared “Rather than letting us simply write the agreements on our own terms, they want to put language in there that we object to. We don’t want anything that creates obligations on the part of the city, or that would be inconsistent with our policies not to divert patrol ocers from solving crimes.” However Harris County continues the 287(g) program in its jails. We oppose this program and want Sheri Adrian Garcia and the County Commisioners to end this program as soon as possible to defend our rights and our pocketbooks. Tell them you oppose 287(g) www.co.harris.tx.us/elected_officials.asp
Our work galvanized the Daily Cougar to write a story about the 287(g) program that was on the front page of the October 15th issue:
Students for a Democratic Society hosted a forum Wednesday night at the UC on the controversial Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act in anticipation of the Oct. 27 vote to re-sign the agreement in Houston.
The Immigration and Nationality Act is a federal law, but Section 287(g), created in 1995, allows local police officers who have received training from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to carry out immigration enforcement functions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.