287(g) program

by Fred Elbel

The 287(g) program has been a highly successful program where state and local law enforcement agencies worked with ICE to enforce existing US immigration law. Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides framework for state and local enforcement to investigate, detain, and arrest illegal aliens on criminal and civil grounds.

Yet the Obama administration, as part of its "administrative amnesty program", directed ICE not to renew 287(g) contracts in 2013. 

From ICE on 287(g):

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security, enforces federal immigration laws as part of its homeland security mission. ICE works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in this mission.

The 287(g) program, one of ICE’s top partnership initiatives, allows a state and local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).  The state or local entity receives delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.

Section 287(g) Is the Right Answer for State and Local Immigration Enforcement, Heritage Foundation, March 6, 2006

Any comprehensive border and immigration security legislation by Congress should include provisions for strengthen­ing and expanding programs authorized under §287(g)...

The 287(g) Program: Protecting Home Towns and Homeland, Center for Immigration Studies, October, 2009

... the Obama administration, in a move consistent with other recent steps to scale back immigration law enforcement, recently announced its intent to impose new rules for the 287(g) program that unduly constrain the local partners and could allow too many alien scofflaws identified by local agencies to remain here. But even with these changes... the 287(g) program still remains an effective tool in immigration law enforcement and local crime-fighting...

About 1,000 officers from 67 law enforcement agencies have been trained and participate in the program. With 9 new agencies joining and a handful of agencies dropping out in 2009, the total number of participating agencies as of October 2009 is 73.

287(g) officers lodged immigration charges on more than 81,000 illegal or criminal aliens between January 2006 and November 2008, according to data provided to us by ICE...

Obama’s Administrative Amnesty, FAIR, February 14, 2014

On February 13, 2012, President Obama introduced his 2013 budget, proposing to slash immigration enforcement programs. In addition to cutting funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by 4 percent, the White House proposal sought reducing the 287(g) federal-local law enforcement program by $17 million—a whopping 25 percent.

Despite Congress refusing to enact President Obama’s budget, he nonetheless got his way when buried in the bottom of an ICE press release ten months later, his Administration declared it would not be renewing any 287(g) task force model agreements in 2013. The release stated, “ICE has... decided not to renew any of its agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies that operate task forces under the 287(g) program.” In effect, Obama’s move was more significant than the $17 million cut initially sought, effectively cutting the state and local law enforcement program in half.

Despite the effectiveness and popularity of the 287(g) program, the Obama Administration has from the beginning been working to dismantle it. Just months after taking office, President Obama restricted the 287(g) program to ensure participating law enforcement agencies enforced immigration laws only against “dangerous criminal aliens.”

President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement, FAIR (read the full report)

...A review of the Obama Administration's record shows:

The Administration's conscious effort to end policies that effectively enforce and deter illegal immigration. This includes the cessation of meaningful worksite enforcement against employers who hire illegal aliens and the removal of the illegal workers. It also includes ending effective partnership programs with state and local governments, such as the 287(g) program, that provide a structure through which state and local agencies may enforce immigration laws...