The training is being held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, S.C. After graduating on August 15, 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 Collier County Sheriff's Office and Manatee 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 Department of Homeland Security databases to help positively identify criminals and immigration violators. This training was scheduled after both ICE and the Collier County Sheriff's Office and Manatee 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 Michael Rozos, field office director for the Office of Detention and Removal in Florida. "It gives local law enforcement agencies authority to identify criminal aliens and assists ICE in ensuring that those individuals that are a threat to public safety are not released into our communities."
The Florida Field Office of Detention and Removal oversees the state of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is pleased to have been chosen by ICE to participate in the 287 (g) initiative," said Sheriff W. Brad Steube of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. "This program will enable our deputies to identify those arrested in custody at our jail, who are in our country illegally, to be deported once certain criteria has been met. This collaborative effort will lead to a safer community."
"This partnership further strengthens our cooperation with ICE and our other federal partners," said Sheriff Don Hunter of the Collier County Sheriff's Office. "We believe that the expeditious removal of foreign nationals who are here illegally and are committing crimes will reduce the crime rate and thus the victimization of our residents and visitors and the tax burden on the community. We look forward to the continued success in our working with ICE."
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 more than 800 officers have been trained to enforce immigration law. The officers from those agencies are credited with identifying more than 62,000 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