- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Tuesday American Scene item “Report: Immigration law not enforced consistently” (Nation) repeats misconceptions about the use of the 287(g) immigration law. It claims that the program is problematic because it results in the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants with little or no criminal record. Such a view is misguided and dangerous.

The 287(g) program allows state and local law enforcement jurisdictions to enter into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security in order to help enforce federal immigration laws. When the program began, there was no intent to limit it only to criminal illegal immigrants. I should know because I wrote the law that established the program.

Waiting until illegal immigrants commit criminal offenses before deporting them places U.S. citizens and legal immigrants in danger. Just ask any victim of crimes by illegal immigrants. America’s immigration laws apply to all illegal immigrants, not just those who have committed crimes. The Obama administration is responsible for the enforcement of those laws, and the 287(g) program is a useful tool to help it do so.

REP. LAMAR SMITH

Texas Republican

Chairman, House Judiciary Committee

Washington