Across the country, legislators and policymakers have attempted to crack down on illegal immigration by contracting with local law enforcement to enforce immigration policy. But being undocumented is not a crime, and local law enforcement have no obligation to help the federal government enforce immigration law.
However, dozens of sheriff’s offices across the country—including two in Kansas—spend local resources and collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify, detain, and turn over noncitizens for deportation. One way ICE enlists local law enforcement is through the 287(g) program, a set of agreements that deputize local officers to perform immigration enforcement functions, primarily in jails. Since their inception, 287(g) agreements have given rise to racial profiling, civil rights violations, and breakdowns in community relations. Nevertheless, the Trump administration dramatically expanded the program, with no signs of a rollback under the Biden administration. As a result, 287(g) agreements continue to disrupt communities and fuel racism and xenophobia in Kansas and around the country.