CHARLESTON, S.C. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that 37 deputies and officers representing eight different law enforcement departments attended a welcoming ceremony here today kicking-off the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's (FLETC's) new 287 (g) facilities.
The ceremony was held here at FLETC'S facility at 2000 Bainbridge Avenue.
The deputies and officers represent the following law enforcement agencies: the Missouri State Highway Patrol (10); the Loudoun (Va.) Sheriff's Office (3); the Bay County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office (2); the Beaufort (S.C.) Sheriff's Office (3); the Hall County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office (4); the Gaston County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office (6); the El Paso County (Colo.) Sheriff's Office (4); Prince William-Manassas (Va.) Adult Detention Facility (4) and the Cabarrus County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office (1).
"The creation of the new ICE Office of State and Local Delegation of Authority for State and Local Officers Training facility reflects ICE's unyielding commitment to partnering with our law enforcement counterparts to ensure the safety and security of our homeland through education and cross-designation," said Jim Pendergraph, ICE's director of the Office of State and Local Coordination.
"I am proud of the men and women who have worked diligently to make our vision a reality," said Charles N. DeVita, ICE's director of the Office of Training and Development. "This one-stop shop will support officers in the development of the knowledge and skills necessary to be high-level performers under 287 (g)."
"The 287(g) program is a powerful tool for the state of South Carolina and for our local law enforcement agencies," said Senator Jim DeMint. "I support the ongoing effort of South Carolina to address our illegal immigration problem through stronger partnerships between our sheriffs, the South Carolina Department of Corrections and ICE. Additionally, I will continue to support stronger enforcement of our federal immigration laws, not only at the border, but in our cities and on our streets as well."
"It is my pleasure to welcome the participants of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's first residential 287(g) class, and thank you for your service in protection of our sacred homeland," said Congressman Henry E. Brown. "I commend the staff of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for their dedication and commitment to training the men and women from throughout our government who have been tasked with securing our nation's borders and maintaining security for all Americans."
"Increased coordination between ICE and local law enforcement will help root out illegal aliens who are violent criminals, human smugglers, gang members, or drug dealers," said Senator Lindsey Graham. "I am proud of the role South Carolina is playing in advancing this partnership."
The 287(g) program, which was conceived in the mid-1990's, has traditionally been delivered via a mobile training team headquartered at the ICE Academy in FLETC, Glynco Georgia. ICE Academy's new Advanced Training Site (ATS) facility will offer a centralized point for training.
The four-week program will provide in-depth training on a variety of enforcement topics including immigration law, intercultural relations, and how to use Department of Homeland Security databases to help positively identify criminals and immigration violators. Once the Memorandums of Agreements (MOAs) are signed by ICE and the local law enforcement agencies, the officers will be authorized to use the skills learned as part of this training. The agreement will enable officers to determine the immigration status of those processed through the county jails and to initiate removal proceedings for those found to be in the country illegally.
The 287(g) program is named after the section of law under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that authorizes ICE to train local officers to enforce immigration law. The program has received more than $25 million for training and other associated costs under the current FY 2008 budget's up from just over $15 million the program received last fiscal year. Currently, 47 local enforcement agencies spanning the nation have signed MOAs with ICE and now more than 750 state and local officers have been trained to enforce immigration law. The officers from those agencies are credited for identifying more than 57,000 individuals 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 offered for assistance to local law enforcement officers. ICE ACCESS provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team 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.