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The 287(g) committee

Sheriff Adrian Garcia has formed a citizens advisory panel on how to screen for undocumented immigrants in the jails.

The advisory committee will not debate whether to continue the screening program, Garcia said. It will suggest ways he can improve the 287(g) program, which deputizes county jailers to assume some federal immigration enforcement functions.

Critics faulted Garcia for the panel’s composition, the timing and for continuing 287(g) at all.

Two committee members have Hispanic surnames, but a majority of the 17,410 inmates flagged as possible illegal immigrants through the program are from Latin America. The issue is important among many local Hispanic leaders.

“There really is no representation of the grass-roots community or the immigrant community,” said Cesar Espinosa, executive director of the immigrant advocacy group Houston’s America for All. “Is this committee going to protect the interests of the office of the sheriff, or is it going to represent the interests of the immigrant community?”

The committee members are listed here. I can understand the frustration that activists like Espinosa feel, with discontinuing the program not being open to discussion. The question of whether or not 287(g) is worth doing at all is one that has not been publicly explored, and it needs to be. If Sheriff Garcia isn’t willing to consider that now, I hope he’ll be open to it later. Stace has more.

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  1. JJMB says:

    “really is no representation of …the immigrant community”

    Really? Out of Cardenas, Tameez, Wafa Abdin (who directs an immigrant assistance organization), Chang, Fong, Le, Murillo, Nguyen, Mosis Willett (with African Coalition PAC) and Zakaria, there isn’t anyone who has an immigrant perspective, as an immigrant themselves or child of immigrants? How can I take that “critic” seriously after such a ridiculous statement. (Assuming he wasn’t misquoted or out of context, always a big assumption my experience tells me.)

  2. Burt Levine says:

    Danny Nguyen was born in Vietnam. He immigrated to the United States around 1980 when he was 14. He earned US citizenship and through hard wrk and yrs of dedication was elected early this month and sworn in earlier this wk to Missouri City Council.