CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Missouri State Highway Patrol graduated 10 of its troopers here today following a rigorous four-week training under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) "287(g) program."
The training and the graduation ceremony were held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, S.C. Following the graduation, ICE deputized these 10 troopers, which allows them to enforce federal immigration law under ICE's supervision, which is authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The troopers attended the four weeks of training in accordance with a memorandum of agreement between the State of Missouri and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These troopers will be authorized to enforce federal immigration laws during the course of doing their normal duties.
The four-week course provided 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 Missouri State Patrol signed a 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The 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.
Four troopers are assigned to the Patrol's Gaming Division and will remain assigned in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. The remaining six troopers are assigned within the Division of Drug and Crime Control, with two officers each in St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City.
"Each law enforcement agency that signs on to the 287(g) program represents a force multiplier to help combat crime in local communities," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "Our ICE agents look forward to working closely with these newly trained Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers to our mutual benefit, and to the ultimate benefit of public safety." Hartwig oversees a six-state area, which includes: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
"We appreciate our partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE," said Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "This training will further the Patrol's mission to serve and protect the public."
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 $42 million dollars for training and other associated costs under the current FY 2008 budget - up from just over $15 million the program received last fiscal year. Currently, 55 local enforcement agencies spanning the nation have signed MOAs with ICE and now nearly 800 officers have been trained to enforce immigration law. The officers from those agencies are credited for identifying more than 60,000 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/287g.