The training is being held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, S.C. After graduating on September 12, these officers will be authorized to enforce federal immigration law under ICE's supervision in accordance with section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Five officers from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and seven officers from the Collier County Sheriff's Office completed the rigorous training program at FLETC on Friday, August 15.
The 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. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Brevard County Sheriff's Office recently signed a 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and this is the first training for its officers. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is participating in their second training of officers since the signing of their 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. Currently, there are three other MOAs with Florida law enforcement agencies including the Bay County Sheriff's Office, Collier County Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
"Each law enforcement agency that participates in the 287(g) program represents a force multiplier to help combat crime in local communities," said Kimberly Boulia, deputy field office director for the Office of Detention and Removal Operations 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.
"We look forward to working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to weed out illegal criminal aliens in our community," said Sheriff John H. Rutherford of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
"Our partnership with ICE will give us the ability to personally expedite the removal of criminal aliens from our jail and from our community saving both time and money," said Sheriff Jack Parker of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. "Everybody wins in this scenario except the criminal alien."
"We're excited about our first group of deputies finishing up training with ICE," said Sheriff W. Brad Steube, of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. "Now the Sheriff's Office can move forward with assisting ICE in enforcing immigration law when people are booked into the Manatee County Jail."
The 287(g) program 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, 62 local enforcement agencies spanning the nation have signed MOAs with ICE and more than 840 officers have been trained to enforce immigration law. The officers from those agencies are credited with identifying more than 65,000 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 http://www.ice.gov for more information. More information about ICE's 287(g) program is available at: http://www.ice.gov/287g/.