Immigration Enforcement Program to Be Shut Down

Alan Gomez, USA Today, February 17, 2012

The Obama administration is starting to shut down a program that deputized local police officers to act as immigration agents.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have trained local officers around the country to act as their agencies’ immigration officers. Working either in jails or in the field, the officers can check the immigration status of suspects and place immigration holds on them.

The program, known as 287(g), reached its peak under President George W. Bush, when 60 local agencies signed contracts with ICE to implement it. But that trend slowed significantly under President Obama—only eight agencies have signed up since he took office, and none has done so since August 2010.

Now, in their proposed budget for the upcoming year, Department of Homeland Security officials say they will not sign new contracts for 287(g) officers working in the field and will terminate the “least productive” of those agreements—saving an estimated $17 million. All the contracts between ICE and local police agencies run for three years, so that portion of the program could be finished by November when the last contract for field officers expires.

In its budget request, DHS said officials instead will focus on expanding Secure Communities, a program that checks the fingerprints of all people booked into local jails against federal immigration databases. The followup work in those cases is done by ICE agents, not local police.


The program had been criticized by Homeland Security inspector general reports, which found that local officers were not being properly trained and there was not enough oversight to ensure that local agencies weren’t using the program to engage in racial profiling.

A study last year by the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, found that immigrants developed “fear and mistrust of authorities” when they realized that local police could act as immigration agents.


Defenders of the program, such as Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, say Homeland Security is “putting politics ahead of public safety” by cutting back the 287(g) program. She said Secure Communities is helpful but that local officers working in the field are better able to identify illegal immigrants who may not have their fingerprints in federal databases, making it harder to identify them.

She said some agencies such as the Colorado Department of Public Safety have used their 287(g) officers to suppress drug and human smuggling, gang activity and identity theft and said many sheriffs and police chiefs prefer the program to Secure Communities.


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  • holyflower

    Why Obama and the Democrats are burying 287(g): “States, Counties Begin to Enforce Immigration Law,” Washington Post, September 27, 2006:

    BOTTOM LINE/SUMMARY: After just five months in effect, use of 287(g) powers by the local sheriff is having a profound effect. It will eventually lead to self-deportation of illegal aliens:

    Philip Turtletaub, a Charlotte immigration lawyer . . . “said he thinks it could make life as an illegal immigrant in the region so uncomfortable that fewer illegal immigrants would choose to live there”; “They’re putting the pressure on these people. They’re scaring them. People say we can’t deport 10 million. But you don’t have to. If you deport enough of them, others will go back voluntarily because they don’t want to live in these conditions.”

    • A very good summary of the current issue.  It doesn’t seem possible for many of us maybe just 4o or so years of age that this is the same country that we were born to.  Sheriff Joe is investigated and threatened with jail for working within the law in handling the illegal situation in his jurisdiction while the director of the Department of Justice willingly violates the law of the land.  It is growing faint that ember of hope that this was all just a silly bad dream and America will find its way back to the path the founding fathers set.  With the crush of illegals and even “choice” legals arriving from the third world, one wonders where we went wrong.  Was it making the former slaves citizens, was it giving women the vote, was it allowing anyone other than a white male, landowner to determine the country’s laws and well being?  Or perhaps things will genuinely get better when we slip over that slope of 50% of the population doesn’t pay taxes instead of the present 49.5%?

      • The irony of that (the almost majority of Americans not paying Federal income taxes), is that the same conservative foundations now bemoaning it are the ones who promoted the idea of exempting more and more people from FIT liability, not too long ago.  The more people you let out of paying taxes, especially FIT, the less potent the tax issue is as an election year weapon for Republicans.

        • That really is the answer, we have brought this mess upon ourselves, well not you or I or most that come here but surely those that claimed to be “conservative” or whatever, really were runners on the same circular track, just a bit slower than the rest.

  • This is because they know that it is the local Police who know where these Illegal Aliens are.

    Can anyone explain to me how it came to be that Americans can still be convicted for breaking Laws but Illegal Aliens get to roam free?  I don’t understand this.  I am as confused about this as I am about how Illegal Aliens are allowed to access our Medical Care just as I’m confused about how an Illegal Alien can give birth to an “american”.  None of this makes any sense outside of Deliberate Destruction of America.

    • None of this makes any sense outside of Deliberate Destruction of America.     

      The only conclusion that a sane, thinking individual could have.  And this is just for now, as soon as they have the right number, we will not be allowed this little corner of the world to spout out our anger and frustration, they will simply make us illegal.

      • I think they’re trying to make us Illegal now.  Why else would they dare to spout such nonsense like saying Irish “became” White and other such lies?

        If they can turn that sort of stuff into normal speak (accepted “knowledge”) then they can make White People feel less and less.  I mean make them feel like they have no real right to anything.  No Ethnicity, No Country and eventually, No History and finally, No White People.

        Someone once said to me and to paraphrase “they’re trying to de-legitimize us”.

  • JackKrak

    The next generation of Democrats has to come from somewhere. Mexico, for example.