GADSDEN, Ala. - Deputies from the Etowah County Sheriff's Office in Alabama began a rigorous four-week training program today under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE's) "287(g) program."
The training is being held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, S.C. After graduating August 15, 2008, these officers will be authorized to enforce federal immigration law under ICE's supervision, which is authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The four weeks of training is the next required step in the 287(g) authorization process following the memorandum of agreement between the Etowah County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The four-week course provides in-depth training on various enforcement topics, including: immigration law, intercultural relations, and how to use DHS databases to help positively identify criminals and immigration violators. This training was scheduled after both ICE and the Etowah County Sheriff's Office signed a 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The signed agreement and training enable officers to legally identify criminal and illegal aliens that they may encounter, and to initiate removal proceedings for those found to be in the country illegally.
"Each law enforcement agency that participates in the 287(g) program represents a force multiplier to help combat crime in local communities," said Field Office Director George H. Lund III of ICE's Office of Detention and Removal in New Orleans. "Our officers look forward to working closely with these newly trained Etowah County Sheriff Deputies for our mutual benefit and to the ultimate benefit of public safety."
The Detention and Removal Office oversees a five state area which includes: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
"We look forward to our partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE," said Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin. "This training will further the Sheriff's Office's mission to serve and protect the public."
The 287(g) program is named after the section of law under the INA that authorizes ICE to train local officers to enforce immigration law. The program has received more than $42 million for training and other associated costs under the current fiscal year 2008 budget - up from just over $15 million the program received in 2007. Currently, 59 local enforcement agencies spanning the nation have signed MOAs with ICE and now nearly 800 officers have been trained to enforce immigration law. The officers from those agencies are credited with identifying more than 62,000 people with possible immigration violations in the past two years.
The 287(g) program is only one component under the ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) umbrella of services available to assist local law enforcement officers. ICE ACCESS provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to partner with ICE to combat specific challenges in their communities.
Other ICE ACCESS enforcement options include the creation of local task forces targeting specific challenges like gangs or document fraud, the presence of a Criminal Alien Program (CAP) team in local detention facilities to identify criminal aliens, or training to utilize the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) which provides officers the ability to inquire about a person's immigration and criminal history.
Law enforcement agencies interested in reviewing the myriad of enforcement programs under the ICE ACCESS program are encouraged to call their local ICE office or visit www.ice.gov for more information. More information about ICE's 287(g) program is available at: http://www.ice.gov/partners/287g/Section287_g.htm