Bernie Sander has written a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson questioning the Obama administration's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), finding that the program has failed in its stated goal of supporting local law enforcement’s mission to promote community safety.

He writes:

As currently implemented, PEP is not accomplishing this goal. It seems that DHS has merely made minor stylistic changes to detainer requests and implemented those stylistic changes in jurisdictions that sought to limit their involvement with SCOMM. In remaining jurisdictions, it isour understanding that DHS continues the failed SCOMM program, albeit with a new name.There is little evidence that ICE is following the directives and priorities laid out in your memoranda, or that there is any oversight or accountability within the agency to follow the policies you established.

As a result, Senator Sanders has requested the following:

1. The names and number of jurisdictions that: (a) DHS has prioritized for participation in PEP; (b) agreed to participate in PEP; (c) currently contemplating participation in PEP;and (d) refused to participate in PEP. Additionally, please provide clarity regarding what participation in PEP entails, and whether it is limited to detainer requests or includes additional ICE access to state and local jurisdictions. Please provide copies of all memorandums and other records formalizing participation in PEP by all jurisdictions.

2. Please provide data regarding the number of requests for notification and detainers issued by ICE, broken down by month, state, facility name, offense seriousness level,enforcement priority level, from November 2014 to present.

3. Please provide information regarding whether an immigrant subject to a request for notification or detainer has physical access to the form while in custody, as well as a statistical breakdown of whether requests for notification/detainer are transmitted electronically, by paper, or by phone.

4. What training or guidance has DHS provided to ICE agents to understand and complywith PEP and other changes directed in the PEP Memorandum?

5. Please explain how ICE interprets PEP’s requirement for probable cause to issue an immigration detainer and what guidance DHS issued to agents on the use of the “special circumstances” exception? Please list the jurisdictions where ICE continues to issue requests for detention instead of requests for notification.

6. Please provide more information regarding Director Sarah Saldafla’s comments at the December 2, 2015 Senate Committee on the Judiciary oversight hearing where she stated that she is “currently considering whether or not it makes sense at this point. . . to expand 287(g) and the Secretary and [her] will be discussing that further.”

7. Please provide information whether ICE intends to comply with a March 5, 2015 FOIA request (2015-ICAP-00377) submitted by the Benjamin M. Cardozo School of Law, Asian Americans Advance Justice, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network regarding records related to PEP. Please explain why the ICE FOIA unit has still not,nearly a year after the submission of the FOIA, provided the responsive records.

8 Please elaborate whether DHS plans on expanding the 287(g) program and whether that expansion would entail the resumption of the task force model, expansion of jail agreements, or both.

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.