One of the more controversial steps the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently taken is the revision and standardization of its 287(g) immigration-enforcement agreements with state and local police as part of DHS’ efforts to prioritize the removal of dangerous undocumented immigrants. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio made national headlines last month when he belligerently stated that DHS had unfairly singled him out and took away his authority to make a political example out of him. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sat down with ThinkProgress today to explain what drove DHS’ decision to limit some of Arpaio’s authority amidst rampant allegations of racial profiling against the Sheriff’s Office:
It was time to build some standards into 287(g) and to put some organization into this. … And he [Arpaio] was unwilling to accept that there were standards that needed to be met. He wanted to go off on his own. And so that’s where we had a parting of ways.
During an event at the Center for American Progress today, Napolitano openly opposed Arpaio’s blind immigration raids, stating that she doesn’t believe that they are the best way to ensure public safety. The event featured Napolitano’s first detailed discussion on comprehensive immigration reform and what DHS is doing to prepare for it. Napolitano announced that there’s a desperate need for immigration reform that consists of a “commitment to serious and effective enforcement, improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here.” Though significant improvements have been made, “the laws themselves need to be reformed,” she said. More coverage at the Wonk Room.