DENVER — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Denver renewed immigration enforcement partnership efforts with Teller County, Colorado, after a lawsuit, brought by the ACLU, was dismissed Tuesday.
The lawsuit filed June 27, 2019, in Teller County District Court, challenged the cooperation between ICE and Teller County through ICE’s 287(g) program.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 added Section 287(g), to the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of law authorizes the Director of ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, which permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law enforcement functions. Agreements under section 287(g) require the local law enforcement officers to receive appropriate training and to function under the supervision of ICE officers.
As part of the agreement, deputies from the Teller County Jail have received specialized training from ICE in order to perform federal law enforcement activities under the direction of ICE supervisory detention and deportation officers. The agreement is a Jail Enforcement Officer model, so it only operates to identify and process aliens in the Teller County jail who are subject to removal from the United States pursuant to ICE’s civil immigration priorities.
“This court ruling allows us to continue to protect the citizens of Teller County and sustain the way of life this community wants; the freedom to live without fear of those illegal criminal organizations that have prayed upon them in the recent past,” said Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell.
All current 287(g) agreements operate under a jail enforcement model, which operates solely within the confines of a jail. Under this model an alien must first be arrested by local law enforcement on other criminal charges and brought to the facility before any 287(g) screening activity takes place.
The goal of this program is to enhance public safety by identifying aliens, lodging immigration detainers, and initiating removal proceedings by issuing charging documents on potentially deportable criminal aliens booked into the jail facility.
The state and local partners benefit by reducing the number of criminal offenders that are released back into the community without being screened for immigration violations.
Gang members, sex offenders, and murderers are often identified and taken into ICE custody after serving their criminal sentences, thus being removed from the community. The efficiency and safety of the program allows ICE to actively engage criminal alien offenders while incarcerated in a secure and controlled environment as opposed to the alternative of conducting at-large arrests which can pose safety concerns for the officers and the community and may result in collateral arrests. Federal, state and local officers working together provide a tremendous benefit to public safety through increased law enforcement communication and overall community policing effectiveness.
Copies of all active 287(g) agreements can be found online.