The Section 287(g) program is a means by which state and local law enforcement agencies may cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enforce our immigration laws.
It was established by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 so that officers may receive training from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in functions such as identification, processing, and detention of immigration offenders. This training provides state and local police with additional tools they can use to prosecute crimes committed by aliens, especially gang violence and document fraud, while reducing the impact of illegal immigration on local communities and making it less likely that terrorists will be able to operate with impunity in the United States.
Any state or political subdivision may initiate a 287(g) agreement on behalf of its law enforcement officers by contacting ICE. Once a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state or locality and the Department of Homeland Security is signed, the state or local officers participate in a four- to five-week course on immigration law and enforcement. Once the officers are certified, they can count on the assistance of ICE agents as they perform the immigration functions for which they were trained.
The utility of this program is borne out by its documented success to date. As of August 21, 2007, 23 state and local law-enforcement agencies have struck agreements with ICE, and about 75 others have submitted applications. Most agreements were signed in the prior 18 months. To date, ICE has trained 416 officers, who, in turn, have made over 22,000 arrests in conjunction with Federal law enforcement officials.
Several large, urban counties – including Los Angeles and San Bernadino Counties in California and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina – participate in the 287(g) program. Mecklenburg County's participation has been so successful, in fact, that the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee held a hearing in the county in 2006 specifically to discuss that jurisdiction's experiences with the program.
For additional information on the 287(g) program, please visit these links: