The Orange County Sheriff’s Department this week terminated its 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which allowed deputies to inform immigration agents about criminal aliens in custody. The move came in response to a new state law (SB 54) taking effect on January 1 that prohibits law enforcement agencies from participating in 287(g) and otherwise limits cooperation with ICE. Orange County (OC) Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the state sheriff’s association opposed the sanctuary law, but now all sheriffs must comply.

Ray Grangoff, an OC sheriff’s spokesman, said 287(g) termination “is going to limit local control and put a lot of responsibility on the federal government…Before, we were very proactive in notifying ICE [about criminal aliens]. Now, we’re switching to responding to ICE…The sheriff is going to exercise her discretion to cooperate with federal law enforcement as much as the law allows.” Grangoff said that ICE agents will have to identify criminal aliens by checking public arrest records and their databases, then agents ask for notification of an inmate’s release date in order to pick up for deportation.

The 287(g) program, created in 1996, authorizes ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies that permit designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions. The main goal of the program is to enhance public safety by identifying criminal aliens, lodging immigration detainers, and initiating removal proceedings for deportable criminal aliens booked into jail facilities. 287(g), a highly effective force multiplier for ICE, is expanding under the Trump Administration.

Enactment of SB 54 prompted ICE Acting Director Tom Homan to release a statement: “Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to sign SB54 and make California a sanctuary state for illegal aliens – including those who have committed crimes – will undermine public safety and hinder ICE from performing its federally mandated mission…SB54 will negatively impact ICE operations in California by nearly eliminating all cooperation and communication with our law enforcement partners in the state…ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community…Ultimately, SB54 helps shield removable aliens from immigration enforcement and creates another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect.”

Read more in the Orange County Register and other media.

Updated: Thu, Jan 11th 2018 @ 4:20pm EST