MIAMI — Twenty-three deputy sheriffs from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Brevard County Sheriff's Office, and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office attended a graduation ceremony Tuesday in recognition of their completion of a rigorous four-week training program under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE's) "287 (g) program."
The training and graduation ceremony was held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, S.C. These officers are now authorized to enforce federal immigration law under ICE's supervision in accordance with section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Twelve corrections officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, six officers from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and five officers from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office completed the rigorous training program.
The four-week program provided in-depth training on a variety of enforcement topics including immigration law, intercultural relations, and how to use Department of Homeland Security databases to help positively identify criminals and immigration violators. Once the equipment is installed at each respective local facility, the officers will be authorized to use the skills learned as part of this training. 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. 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.
The Florida Field Office of Detention and Removal oversees the state of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"While we don't believe Jacksonville has an exceptionally large illegal alien community, we are concerned about the criminal element that lives among them and preys upon them," said Sheriff John H. Rutherford of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. "This program will allow us to work with ICE to remove them from our community."
"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.
"We are proud and excited for our corrections deputies that have successfully completed this comprehensive training program presented by ICE," said Sheriff W. Brad Steube, of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. "Our deputies will be able to utilize their new skills to quickly identify those who are illegally in the country that have committed a crime which could result in deportation. This is a collaborative effort and just one step in the mission to make our community a safer place to live."
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 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, 63 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 70,000 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: Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act