LAS VEGAS - Beginning this month, 10 officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) will be screening criminal aliens booked into the Clark County Detention Center for possible follow-up immigration enforcement as part of a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the 287(g) program.
The LVMPD officers recently completed four weeks of intensive training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, S.C., and are now authorized to enforce federal immigration law in accordance with section 287(g) of the Immigration and National Act and a Memorandum of Agreement with ICE. The training covered immigration law, intercultural relations, civil rights and access to federal law enforcement databases in order to identify criminals and immigration violators. The agreement will enable officers to determine the immigration status of those processed through the county jails and to initiate removal proceedings for those found to be in the country illegally.
"The bottom line is that we have some very serious crime issues to deal with in Las Vegas - gang violence, human trafficking, narcotics smuggling and money laundering - to name a few," said LVMPD Sheriff Douglas Gillespie. "Our partnership with ICE is one of many methods we are going to use to decrease these unacceptable activities. As a law enforcement agency, we must do everything we can to protect our citizens from habitual criminals."
LVMPD is the first law enforcement agency in Nevada to partner with ICE under the 287(g) program.
"This is a win for law enforcement and a win for the public," said Steven Branch, field office director for ICE in Salt Lake City. "From a public safety standpoint, it helps to further ensure that criminal aliens in the Clark County Detention Center are removed from the country when they complete their sentences, rather than being released to the streets."
The Salt Lake City Office of Detention and Removal oversees the state of Utah, Nevada, Montana and Idaho.
"This partnership will give us the power locally to expedite the removal of criminal aliens from our jail and our community and will save tax dollars," said Sheriff Jack Parker of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.
In fiscal year 2008, the 287(g) program received more than $42 million in funding for training and other associated costs, up from slightly more than $15 million in 2007. Currently, 63 local law enforcement agencies across the country have MOAs with ICE and more than 840 officers have been trained to enforce immigration law. Those officers are credited with identifying more than 70,000 individuals 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. 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 criminal activity 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 gives officers the ability to inquire about a person's immigration and criminal history.