SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is holding the first of its nine "ICE ACCESS Summits" throughout Missouri starting here Tuesday to educate Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officers statewide about the various partnership programs available through ICE.
More than 500 Missouri Highway Patrol and local law enforcement officers are scheduled to participate in the ICE Summits statewide within the next two weeks. The all-day training sessions will discuss the ICE structure, and especially the ICE programs in ICE's Office of Investigations and its Office of Detention and Removal Operations. The Summits will be held at Highway Patrol offices in nine Missouri cities including: Springfield, Willow Springs, Jefferson City, Rolla, Poplar Bluff, St. Louis, Macon, St. Joseph and Lees Summit, in that order.
These Missouri Summits were developed in response to the keen interest many Missouri law enforcement agencies have shown in ICE, and how they could partner with ICE to combat local crime.
"All law enforcement agencies have the common goal of combating crime," said Julie L. Myers, ICE Assistant Secretary. "These first-ever ICE Summits will help inform Missouri law enforcement leaders of the many programs ICE has available so we can partner together to accomplish this common but vital goal."
"Missourians welcome legal immigrants, but we will not tolerate illegals who blatantly disobey our laws," said Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. "We must protect Missourians from illegal immigration and prevent crimes like the one that occurred in New Jersey where three promising African-American college students were gunned down by a man who should never have been in our country in the first place, and who was already indicted for sexual assault against a child. These summits will help Missouri law enforcement get the information they need about the ICE programs available to them to help better protect Missourians from the threat of illegal immigration."
"The Missouri State Highway Patrol plays an intricate part in Homeland Security for the State of Missouri, and immigration enforcement is part of that responsibility," stated Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "The security of our nation depends on the cooperation of our federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in combating and preventing crime, and the summits are another step in that direction."
"Missouri's law enforcement community will benefit tremendously from the open dialogue and educational training these summits will offer throughout the state over the next two weeks," said Mark James Director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
ACCESS stands for "Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security. ICE developed the ACCESS program in response to the widespread interest from local law enforcement agencies, like those in Missouri, which have requested ICE partnerships through the 287(g) program. The 287(g) program trains and certifies local officers to enforce immigration law as authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
However, the 287(g) program is only one component under the ICE ACCESS umbrella of services and programs offered for assistance to local law enforcement officers. Some other ICE ACCESS enforcement options include:
- Criminal Alien Program (CAP)
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) focuses on identifying criminal aliens who are incarcerated within federal, state and local facilities, thereby ensuring that they are not released into the community by securing a final order of removal prior to the termination of their sentence.
- Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces
ICE created Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces (DBFTFs) to target, dismantle and seize illicit proceeds of the criminal organizations that threaten national security and public safety by exploiting the immigration process through fraud. The DBFTFs provide an effective platform from which to launch anti-fraud initiatives using existing manpower and authorities. Through DBFTFs, ICE partners with other federal agencies, state and local law enforcement. These task forces focus their efforts on detecting, deterring and disrupting both benefit fraud and document fraud.
- Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC)
The mission of the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) is to protect the U.S. and its people by providing timely accurate information and assistance to the federal, state and local law enforcement community. The LESC serves as a national enforcement operations center by providing immigration status and identity information on aliens suspected, arrested or convicted of criminal activity. The LESC operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week assisting law enforcement agencies with information gathered from multiple databases.
- Operation Community Shield (OCS)
In February 2005, ICE launched Operation Community Shield, a national law enforcement initiative that brings all of ICE's law enforcement powers to bear in the fight against violent gangs that threatening the public safety of our communities. OCS is part of a comprehensive approach of working with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level to combat transnational gangs.
- Operation Predator
Operation Predator is a program designed to identify, investigate and, as appropriate, administratively deport child predators. ICE routinely coordinates and integrates investigative efforts with foreign law enforcement, in order to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved in international pedophilic groups or who derive proceeds from commercial child exploitation ventures.