President Donald Trump is breathing new life into a program that deputizes local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law.
This program was revived the same day Trump ordered the hiring of thousands of new federal agents, build a border wall and restrict the immigration of individuals from seven select Middle Eastern countries, but received little attention from media and the public until now, according to ABC News.
In 2009, as the immigration debate was heating up, more than 60 police departments and sheriff agencies had enlisted in the program. Since then, the number had dwindled in half following complaints that local officers were concentrating too much of their efforts on immigration.
ABC News reported:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio used the program most aggressively in metro Phoenix, and he became arguably the nation’s best-known immigration enforcer at the local level in large part because of the special authority. In a strange twist, he was thrown out of office in the same election that vaulted Trump to the presidency, mostly because of mounting frustration over legal issues and costs stemming from the patrols.
In his executive order this week, Trump said he wants to empower local law enforcement to act as immigration officers and help with the “investigation, apprehension, or detention” of immigrants in the country illegally.
Jackson County, Texas sheriff A. J. “Andy” Louderback said the program will cost his agency approximately $3,000 while his deputies are training for the program — a small price to pay in his estimation.
“It just seems like good law enforcement to partner with federal law enforcement in this area,” he said. “It takes all of us to do this job.”
Reviving this program will also accentuate the split between local agencies taking part in the program and those from sanctuary cities.
“There is no question that in order to do the type of mass deportation that [Trump] promised, it will require him conscripting local law enforcement agencies,” Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said. “It is going to balkanize things … and we’re going to see more of the extremes.”
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