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What is 287(g)?

Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) became law as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA). The 287(g) program authorizes local and state law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws in their community.

How does it work?

The federal government collaborates with local law enforcement and police departments to enter into written agreements that enables local police officers to perform the operations of federal immigration agents. Section 287(g) of the INA allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to write up this formal agreement. The DHS and local authorities negotiate the formal agreement, and it is supervised by ICE. The 287(g) program is completely voluntary, and once agreements expire, DHS is not required to renew it.

What are these deputized officers authorized to do?

  • Interview people to establish their immigration status

  • Detain individuals until ICE takes them into custody

  • Enter data about individuals into ICE’s database and case management system/check DHS databases for information

  • Transfer undocumented individuals into ICE custody

  • Issue a Notice to Appear, which starts the official removal process

  • Make recommendations and references for detention and immigration bond

  • Make recommendations for voluntary departure.

Are there different types of 287(g)?

Yes, there are actually three types of agreements for 287(g).

  • The task force model – deputized officers who encounter suspected undocumented individuals are authorized to question and arrest individuals they believe have violated federal immigration laws. This includes the course of the officers’ daily activities.

  • The jail enforcement model – deputized officers are authorized to interrogate suspected undocumented individuals who have been arrested on state or local charges. They are also authorized to place immigration detainers on undocumented individuals who will face removal.

  • The hybrid model – combines the authorizations of both models.

  All of these agreements use the jail enforcement model.

Is there funding? Who’s responsible for these costs?

Well, ICE and local departments are responsible for the costs. ICE covers the cost of training for the deputized officers. Depending on funds, ICE may cover the costs of updated technology, hardware and software that comes with 287(g). State and local governments are responsible for the majority of the costs 287(g) requires, such as housing, over time, salaries, travel and administrative supplies. A small portion of the costs of detention may possibly be reimbursed by the federal government through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), but it is only a small fraction.

What type of training do deputized officers have to go through?

  • Deputized officers are required to be U.S. citizens

  • Must have at least one year of law enforcement experience

  • They are required to complete a four-week Immigration Authority Delegation Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center ICE Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.

    • This training consists of teaching the officers how to access immigration databases

    • How to complete immigration forms

    • Learn the functions of federal immigration agents

    • Receive some training on civil rights, complaint procedures and the limitations of the 287(g) agreements.

  • A one-week refresher training program completed every two years

  • They have a background investigation completed before consideration

  • Must have no disciplinary actions pending.

How does ICE choose local law enforcement agencies to participate in 287(g)?

In 2009, ICE started an Internal Advisory Committee. This committee consists of the DHS’ Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, ICE’s Office of Investigations, Office of Detention and Removal Operations, Office of Principle Legal Advisor, Office of Congressional Relations and the Office of Public Affairs. Their role is to review and evaluate ICE field office recommendation about pending 287(g) applications.

How many states participate in 287(g)?

ICE has 287(g) agreements in 20 states with 75 law enforcement agencies. ICE has trained more the 1,822 state and local officers for 287(g).

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