HALL COUNTY, GA - Officers from Hall County and Whitfield County Sheriffs' Offices began a rigorous five-week training course here today where they will learn to enforce immigration law as part of the 287(g) program.
ICE's 287(g) program provides 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 Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) are signed by ICE and the county sheriffs' offices, the local officers will be authorized to use the skills learned as part of this training. ICE and the counties will work together and potentially finalize those agreements before the conclusion of this course. The agreement will enable officers to determine the immigration status of those processed through the county jails or those encountered during the normal course of duties and to initiate removal proceedings for those found to be in the country illegally.
Aside from Hall and Whitfield County, officers from six other local law enforcement agencies will attend this first training session of 2008 held at the Hall County Sheriff's Office Training Center.
- Hall County Sheriff's Office (GA) - 9 officers
- Whitfield County Sheriff's Office (GA) - 6 officers
- Butler County Sheriff's Office (OH) - 8 officers
- Durham Police Department (NC) - 1 officer
- Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office (NC) - 5 officers
- Colorado State Patrol - 2 officers
- El Paso County Sheriff's Office (CO) - 5 officers
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement - 1 officer
Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic said, "The Hall County Sheriff's office has a long history of partnering with local, state and federal agencies to help address numerous local issues such as illegal drugs, gangs and violent crime.Â We are looking forward to this most recent partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through the 287(g) program in the hopes of furthering our efforts to combat these types of issues." Cronic further noted that "this program is not anti-immigrant; its focus is simply those individuals who have entered our country illegally and continue to break the law while here."
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 dollars for training and other associated costs under the current FY 2008 - up from just over $15 million the program received last fiscal year. Currently, 34 local enforcement agencies spanning the nation have signed MOAs with ICE and nearly 600 officers have been trained and certified to enforce immigration law. The officers from those agencies are credited for identifying more than 37,000 with possible immigration violations in the past two years.
The 287g 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.