State of ICE – local law enforcement collaboration

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center published an analysis of local (county) collaboration on immigration enforcement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It writes: “The Trump administration will be inheriting a well-oiled deportation and detention machine. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operates the largest police force in the nation and has a budget that is $4 billion more than all of the other federal law enforcement agencies combined.

Over the past ten years, the increased  involvement of city and county law enforcement in the deportation business – at the urging of DHS and particularly Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – has played a central role in the record-breaking volume of deportations we see today. It is because of this assistance from local law enforcement that the Obama administration gained the capacity to detain and deport so many people. That massive infrastructure will now be led by an administration with an even more ambitious nativist agenda.”

Here is its summary, by county:

Of the 2,556 counties looked at, only 25 had 287(g) agreements and 147 had ICE detention contracts (also called Intergovernmental Service Agreements or IGSAs). These numbers show that only a small proportion of counties have a formal or contractual relationship with ICE. However, when we looked at the data for policies and stated practices in other forms of assistance, the numbers paint a very different and concerning picture.

1,922 counties, or 75% of counties, will hold immigrants on detainers, willingly violating these individuals’ 4th Amendment rights. Only 635 counties, or 25% of counties, do not hold on detainers.

Even more counties, 2,414 in total, take it upon themselves to notify ICE when immigrants will be released from custody, while 142 counties have a policy against that practice.

In 2,484 counties, there are no limitations on what ICE can do in the jails, whereas just 72 counties place some sort of restriction or procedural protections on ICE’s access to detainees.

2,331 counties allow local law enforcement to inquire into an individual’s immigration status, with only 25 counties banning that inquiry.

And finally in 2,503 counties, county employees are able to use local resources to assist ICE in their federal immigration enforcement responsibilities. Only 53 counties prohibit that practice.

Trump’s evolving deportation plans

It’s a near certainty now that Trump will start his administration with a much more aggressive program to deport unauthorized immigrants, starting with those with a criminal record. Here are some Q and As.

What is the target population?

The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are 820,000 target criminal persons out of 11 million unauthorized persons (a rate of 7%) and 1.1 million out of 31 million (a rate of 3.5%).

The rate of criminals to population appears high among immigrants. Is that right?

Yes. This can largely be explained by comparing formal education rates, since these rates correlate closely to criminal rates.  About 2.5% of the general population is either incarcerated or paroled or under other supervision. However this is comparing apples to oranges,

Homeland Security uses a definition of criminal that matches its guidelines for whom to prioritize for deportation. The definition includes felons and persons with more serious misdemeanor convictions. Homeland Security focuses not on immigration violations but rather on crimes any citizen might commit.

Criminal behavior is highly adversely correlated with formal education. The non-high school graduation rate in 2008 was 8% for natives 25 – 64, 22% for legal immigrants, and 47% for unauthorized immigrants. Overall, unauthorized immigrants are 2.4 times more likely than native-born to be in prison or under supervision,if you just applied education factors.  Another way to put it, if the 11 million unauthorized persons were instead native-born, Homeland Security’s 820,000 number shrinks to 350,000.

What are Trump’s challenges?

He will likely try to remove more persons on Homeland Security’ priority list. It is very hard to see how he can do this when California, New York City, Cook County and Miami-Dade County are sanctuary areas. The problem posed by these jurisdictions is not just political opposition but concerns of police and prosecutors about the adverse impact of aggressive deportation upon other areas of law enforcement. Plus, the Catholic church and other religious groups will prove formidable opponents.

Will Trump go farther?

He may try accelerate the deportation of close to one million persons ordered deported but not yet deported, delayed presumably due to enforcement discretion or court injunctions. This estimate is from Jessica Vaughn at the Center for Immigration Studies. If he goes deeper into the unauthorized community he will encounter millions of households in the United States for decades, mixing legal and illegal members in the households: a cat’s cradle. Since the slowdown in illegal in-migration the median duration of residence of unauthorized persons has lengthened to 13.4 years.

Trump on 60 Minutes about deportation

The NY Times on Trump’s interview on 60 Minutes today:

“On immigration, he said the wall that he has been promising to build on the nation’s southern border might end up being a fence in places. But he said his priority was to deport two million to three million immigrants he characterized as dangerous or as having criminal records, a change from his original position that he would deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. President Obama has deported more than two million undocumented immigrants during his time in office.”

I reported on September 19 that “enforcement is so high that there is a backlog of a half million cases at immigration courts.”

On September I wrote that Trump is overestimating by ten times the number of criminal unauthorized foreign residents.

ICE reported on for Fiscal Year 2015:

“In FY 2015, ICE removed or returned 235,413 individuals. Of this total, 165,935 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 69,478 were apprehended in the interior of the United States and the vast majority were convicted criminals who fell within ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.”

ICE cannot expand deportation, especially for criminals, without partnering with local law enforcement. The report goes on to describe lack of total success in partnering:

“A significant factor impacting removal operations has been the number of state and local law enforcement jurisdictions limiting or declining cooperation with ICE. When law enforcement agencies decline to transfer custody of removable convicted criminals and public safety threats to ICE, the agency must expend additional resources to locate and arrest these individuals at-large…..

To address this problem, on November 20, 2014, Secretary Johnson announced the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) as part of the President’s immigration accountability executive action…. PEP improves the process of transferring those most dangerous from state and local custody by enabling ICE to take custody of priority individuals without damaging trust with local communities….

The agency’s Field Office Directors have briefed the program to over 2,000 law enforcement jurisdictions. Of note, 16 of the top 25 jurisdictions with the largest number of previously declined detainers are now participating in PEP, representing 47 percent of previously declined detainers. Most law enforcement agencies are now cooperating via PEP.”

Why did we get so many illegal residents?

There are two answers, one on border control, the other on weak internal enforcement due to the fact that immigration law is federal, but enforcement is local.  It did not matter which political party was in control of the Executive Branch or of Congress.

Between 1990 and 2000 the illegal population grew from 3.5 million to 8.6 million, or by over 5 million. The illegal population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million. About two thirds of illegal immigrants in the U.S. come from Latin America, and possibly 75% of illegal Latin American immigrants arrived by crossing the Mexican-American border without authorization. These estimates suggest that that during the 1990s, illegal Mexican border crossings into the U.S. were in the range of 250,000 or more a year. Taking into account some out-migration, and the uncertainty of all these estimates, an annual inflow in the 1990s of 250,000 over the Mexican border is conservative.

The pressing question is, Why did immigration control fail in the 1990s, and to such degree that even after 9/11 the borders remained porous? Aside from the pull of employers in the U.S. and the push of Hispanics seeking a better job, why did control of migration fail so miserably, especially after passage of the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act, which was supposed to have put the problem of illegal immigrants under control?

Border control

Douglass Massey’s writings with co-authors explain why the borders remained leaky even after Washington appears to redouble efforts to improve control. A 1997 presentation by Douglass Massey and Audrey Singer, concluded that “Despite the apparent build-up of enforcement resources along the Mexico-U.S. border and the launching of highly publicized initiatives, the probability of apprehension fell in the late 1980s.”

A federal website relates that “Operation “Hold the Line” was established in 1993 in El Paso, and proved an immediate success. Operation “Gatekeeper” was implemented in 1994, and reduced illegal entries in San Diego by more than 75% over the next few years.”  But total figures contradict this sunny assertion.

In the early 1970s, the chances of being caught by border enforcement was 35%-40% per attempt, but by the early 1990s the chances were 15%-20%. At this low risk, the cat-and-mouse game was tilted in favor of the border-crossers, whether with coyotes or unassisted.

Massey and Singer find that the Immigration and Naturalization Services was focused on drug smuggling in the 1990s. That was the decade prison sentencing turned more severe for drug crimes.

Tougher border control did, however, reduce the once fluid circular movement of Hispanics back to south of the border, as persons already in the U.S. became more worried about being able to return north.

In 1998, 278 million people, 86 million cars, and four million trucks and rail cars entered the United States from Mexico. More than half of the cocaine and large quantities of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine entered the United States across the border.

The authors wrote in 1997 that “INS efforts to build goodwill and garner political support by joining the popular war on drugs have not noticeably slowed the entry of controlled substances, but they have greatly facilitated the entry of undocumented migrants by shifting scarce enforcement resources away from catching undocumented migrants toward intercepting drug smugglers.” With a lowered capture rate, Hispanic gained more experience in the cat-and-mouse game; success at crossing over led to more success.

Internal enforcement

A new book, Policing Immigrants, examines the actual practices of state and local police in enforcing federal immigration law far away from the border. There is no federal police force assigned to enforce immigration laws (or any laws, for that matter). How immigrant laws are enforced is subject to a patchwork of policy, legislation and enforcement. “Standards are unclear, and guidelines for enforcing immigration law are changing and often vague,” the authors write. On top of which, the concept of community policing, which places a very high value on trust between local police forces and the community of residents, is extremely hard to square with immigration law enforcement.

It was not until 1997, with the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, that there was statutory support for the federal government to formally authorize local police departments to participate in joint training, planning and application of the laws. The risks of misadventure are high, demonstrated by the Maricopa County, AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio, who raided a city hall without notifying local police in advance, and using a state law aimed at human smugglers to arrest the clients of smugglers.

Asian Americans overwhelmingly for Obama

The must unkindest cut to the Romney campaign was when the poster children of immigrants – the well educated, entrepreneurially-minded Indians and the equally hard working East Asian immigrants –voted overwhelmingly for Obama. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education reported that 73% of Asian Americans voted for Obama. That’s up from 62% in 2008. Two decades ago, Asian-Americans went 2-to-1 for Republicans.
Obama was strongest among Indian-American voters, leading Romney by a margin of 76 to 8 percent in the poll, and weakest among Filipino Americans, where the vote was 57 percent to 20 percent. Among Chinese Americans, it was 68 percent for Obama, 8 percent for Romney

In April
The Atlantic had already noted that these immigrants posed a challenge to the Republicans. 44% of eligible Asian Americans has voted in 2008, up from 44% in 2004. And their population grew by 43% between 2000 and 2010. Obama won 62% of their vote in 2008. Today Asian Americans are about 3% of the electorate nationally, and about 10% in California.
In a poll on the weekend before the November election, the vast majority of Asian American voters (58%) said that fixing the economy and creating more jobs was the most important issue that politicians should address. Health care and education reform were each cited by 20% of Asian American voters as the most important issue, followed by civil rights/immigration issues (13%).
On election day, exit polls showed at least 70 percent of Asian-American voters chose Obama. Two decades ago, Asian-Americans reported voting Republican by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, said UC Berkeley political scientist Taeku Lee.
Vietnamese voter sentiment shifted toward Obama, though most still identify with the Republican Party. Filipinos shifted more toward Romney. But two of the largest groups of Asian-American voters — Chinese-Americans and Indian-Americans — are now unmistakably Democratic.

Latinos delivered for Democrats on Tuesday

A record 72% of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama, and only 23% voted for Romney, according to Latino Decisions exit polls. In 2008, the president won 67% of the Hispanic vote while John McCain won 31%. A few weeks ago, Obama was favored by 70% of registered Latinos.
In the battleground state of Colorado, 87% of Latinos voted for Obama, while only 10% voted for Romney. In Ohio, 82% of Latinos voted for President Obama.
In Massachusetts, Latinos came out to vote overwhelmingly for Obama with 89%, and just 9% for Romney. Latino support here had implications in the white-knuckled, close Massachusetts Senate race. “Latinos are an estimated 6 to 7% of all voters in Massachusetts and the impreMedia-Latino Decisions data shows Latinos overwhelmingly supported Elizabeth Warren by a record margin, 86% for Elizabeth Warren to 14% for Brown and the Latino vote is what decisively put Warren over the top,” says Latino Decisions political scientist Matt Barreto.
Exit polls conducted by impreMedia/Latino Decisions nationwide and in 11 key battleground states indicate that Latino voters played a critical role in Obama getting a second term and keeping a Democratic majority in the Senate.
“In all cases, immigration reform and the dramatic distinction between the two parties on the issue was a major driver of Latino voter political choices,” said a statement put out by America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group.
Virginia Senate race: in the race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine, Kaine won. In 2006, the margin of victory for the seat was approximately 1%. Latino voters account for 3.5% of all registered voters in the state in 2012. On analysis reports that From 2000 – 2010 the number of Latino eligible voters grew by 76% in Virginia, outpacing all other groups in the electorate. On Tuesday, Latinos favored Obama over Romney by 66% to 31%.
66% of Virginia Latinos know someone who is undocumented, and 54% know someone who may be eligible for the DREAM Act.
Arizona Senate race. Retiring Senator John Kyl beat his Democratic opponent in 2006 by 10 points. This fall, going into November Republican candidate Jeff Flake was 5 points ahead of Democratic candidate Richard Carmona by about 5 points. As of right now (5 AM Arizona time on Wednesday) the vote count is not in. Flake won.

Last minute update on Latino voting power

The Washington Post on Sunday listed the following as up for grabs between Obama and Romney as of this weekend: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, which projects there will be a 26% increase in Latino voters on Tuesday compared with 2008, provides the following estimates of the projected share of the Latino vote in ten states. Two of the ten, Colorado and Florida, are among the seven states up for grabs. This fast growth is due to an acceleration during recent years in the growth of Latino citizenship on top of the growth in the Latino population overall.
Data presented as follows: Projected Latino Voters; Increase From 2008; Projected Share of Latino Vote
NATIONAL 12,237,000; 25.6%; 8.7%
Arizona 359,000; 23.2%; 12.0%
California 3,911,000; 32.1%; 26.3%
Colorado 224,000; 15.0%; 8.7%
Florida 1,650,000; 34.5%; 18.3%

Illinois 433,000; 37.8%; 7.6%
New Jersey 392,000; 16.2%; 10.4%
New Mexico 329,000; 14.0%; 35.0%
New York 845,000; 13.7%; 10.8%

Tougher ICE enforcement against employers

This has been the story since the start of the Obama administration: prosecution of employers, not their illegal workers. The New York Times has an update. ICE can no longer raid employers except with a prosecution plan in place with the Department of Justice.
The article in full:
A Crackdown on Employing Illegal Workers
TUCSON — Obama administration officials are sharpening their crackdown on the hiring of illegal immigrants by focusing increasingly tough criminal charges on employers while moving away from criminal arrests of the workers themselves.
After months of criticism from Republicans who said President Obama was relaxing immigration enforcement in workplaces, the scope of the administration’s strategy has become clear as long-running investigations of employers have culminated in indictments, convictions, exponentially increased fines and jail sentences. While conducting fewer headline-making factory raids, the immigration authorities have greatly expanded the number of businesses facing scrutiny and the cases where employers face severe sanctions.
In a break with Bush-era policies, the number of criminal cases against unauthorized immigrant workers has dropped sharply over the last two years.

Continue reading Tougher ICE enforcement against employers

Analysis of the 287(g) program

Delegation and Divergence: A Study of 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement. The Migration Policy Institute has issued a report on the 287(g) program, under which ICE delegates to local law enforcement departments authority to arrest individuals who are in violation of immigration laws. The report shows that implementation of these programs is very diverse, with some localities targeting only serious criminals and others picking up anyone at a traffic stop. The impact of traffic stop-like programs (which MPI called “universal” programs) on the entire undocumented population appears to be very high.
Excerpts from the MPI’s executive summary:
At the national level, the program is not targeted primarily or even mostly toward serious offenders. Nationally, about half of program activity (defined by the number of immigration detainers issued) involves people who have committed felonies and other crimes that ICE deems to be serious (Priority Level 1 and 2 in ICE’s terminology). The other half of detainers issued are on people who have committed misdemeanors (usually considered Level 3) and traffic offenses.
Some jurisdictions operate “targeted” models, aimed primarily at identifying serious criminal offenders, while others pursue “universal” models, designed to identify as many unauthorized immigrants as possible. In FY 2010, Las Vegas operated the most targeted program among our sites: officers placed 70 percent of detainers on Level 1 or 2 offenders.
By contrast, Cobb County (GA) and Frederick County (MD) placed about 80 percent of their detainers on Level 3 or traffic offenders, and officers there placed detainers universally (i.e., on every unauthorized immigrant booked into jail or encountered during policing operations).

Continue reading Analysis of the 287(g) program