Southern California is known for being one of the friendliest regions in the United States for immigrants. As we have noted before, California has the most immigrants and the highest percentage of immigrants of any U.S. state. Additionally, the state has stood tall against the draconian actions of the Trump Administration by passing SB54, California’s ‘Sanctuary State’ law.
That being said, even in California, the politics can vary by jurisdiction. In terms of immigration policy, Orange County has long stood out as an outlier in Southern California. Orange County has been the only county still participating in the federal government’s 287(g) program, which facilitates federal-local joint immigration enforcement.
However, there are big changes coming to Orange County this year. As the state’s ‘sanctuary’ law is about to take effect, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Orange County will drop out of the 287(g) program. This is a very important development, and it will help to make immigrants safer in Orange County.
What is the 287(g) Program?
Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to turn local law enforcement officials into immigration enforcement officials. Indeed, in the participating jurisdictions, local police officers are essentially deputized as immigration agents. This happens despite the fact that these officers are typically completely unprepared and ill-equipped to handle immigration issues.
The problem is far more severe than most people realize. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has found that Section 287(g) has resulted in widespread civil rights violations. The most prominent example of this occurred in Maricopa County, Arizona, where the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ found that the department led by Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in a pattern of unlawful racial profiling and pervasive civil rights violations. Unfortunately, the problem is by no means confined to Maricopa County. Section 287(g) has led to problems all across the country.
The End of Section 287(g) is Welcome, But Caution Remains
Ending Section 287(g) enforcement is a strong step in the right direction for Orange County. Still, all immigrants and supporters of immigrant rights must remain cautious. There is still a long way to go to secure just protection for immigrants. There are many things to worry about in this current political climate. The federal government, led by the Trump Administration, remains hostile. Further, though the clock is ticking, as of yet, there has been no congressional agreement reached to provide permanent legal protections and support for DACA recipients.
Contact Our Immigration Lawyer Today
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our compassionate immigration attorneys are proud to support immigrants and their family members. If you need immigration help of any kind, please contact our visa lawyers today to request a fully confidential review of your case. We are located in Los Angeles and serve communities throughout Southern California, including in Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.