July 6, 2018 – Restoring Enforcement of Our Immigration Laws
What is the 287 (g) program?
Section 287(g) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 allows for state and local law enforcement officers to assist with enforcing immigration laws set by Congress. Under the program, state and local officers receive training from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and can arrest, detain, and transport illegal aliens who are caught within their local jurisdictions.
From January 2006 through September 2015, the 287(g) program is credited with identifying more than 402,000 potentially removable aliens.
What is the problem?
During the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allowed the 287(g) programs to dwindle until it had nearly collapsed. When President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, there were 71 programs in existence. By 2016, there were only 32 remaining. Arizona was directly impacted by the administration’s actions – by June 2012, all the state’s agreements were rescinded.
Although the executive branch is tasked with enforcing immigration laws, there are not enough federal agents or resources to effectively deal with our nation’s illegal alien population. State and local law enforcement officers act as a force multiplier. When these officers encounter criminal illegal aliens, they can begin the process of removing these dangerous individuals from our communities rather than releasing them back onto the street. The Obama administration’s actions effectively turn away enforcement resources and put American communities at risk.
What are we doing about it?
On January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” The order directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to reestablish and expand use of the 287(g) program. According to ICE data, there are currently 78 agreements in place in 20 states, with more than 1,800 trained state and local law enforcement officers.
Last month, I co-sponsored Representative Mark Meadows’ bill, H.R. 6134, the Equal Protection of Unaccompanied Minors Act. Among other provisions, this bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to work with state and local law enforcement agencies who want to participate in the 287(g) program. The DHS Secretary would no longer have the discretion to deny program applicants participation. This much-needed measure would ensure that federal authorities have the tools and support they need to fully enforce our nation’s immigration laws.
What are they saying?
“With fewer than 5,000 ICE Enforcement and Removal Officers to enforce immigration laws across the entire United States, it is critically important that we encourage state and local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with ICE to enforce our immigration laws. Voluntary 287(g) agreements are a tried and true way to facilitate such cooperation.” - NumbersUSA
“The 287(g) program works as a force multiplier by promoting cooperation between local officials and federal immigration agents. Although the congressionally-mandated program was eviscerated by the previous administration, President Trump restored federal commitment to 287(g) shortly after taking office. Without question, this voluntary program is a tremendous success. It maximizes resources and protects the public from criminal aliens. Participating jurisdictions frequently credit the 287(g) program as the major factor in reducing local crime rates and inmate populations.” – Federation for American Immigration Reform