Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g)

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287(g) refers to a program of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as to the portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act that authorizes this program.[1] Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g), codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g), was added by section 133 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Division C, Title I of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, Pub.L. 104–208, 110 Stat. 3001, enacted September 30, 1996).[2][1] Section 287(g) authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, delegating authority to designated officers to perform federal civil immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a memorandum of agreement, provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Under § 287(g), with federal approval and training, ICE provides state and local law enforcement officers with the training and authorization to identify, process, and—when appropriate—detain immigration offenders they encounter during their regular, daily law-enforcement activity.


ICE currently requires participating officers to undergo a four-week training process.[2] Of 3,081 sheriffs[3] and many more chiefs of police in the country,[citation needed] only 37 participated in 287(g) as of March 2017.[2] Local officials who have chosen not to participate or discontinued the program cite as their reasons program costs, disruptions to their relationship with local residents, bad publicity, and a desire to focus on criminal law enforcement as opposed to federal civil laws including immigration laws.[4] Between 2006 and 2015, over 402,000 immigrants were identified for deportation through 287(g).[5]


287(g) was originally used to deport criminals who were screened while in jail. Then, in 2006, officers under the sheriff of Charlotte, NC, Jim Pendergraph, began screening the public for violations of civil immigration law. This began the "task force model" of 287(g) in addition to the original jail-based model. Pendergraph was later appointed chief of ICE’s Office of State and Local Coordination, and in this position he expanded the task force model to other communities.[4][6] At the close of 2012, ICE reported that it had decided to discontinue its agreements under the task force model, saying that "other enforcement programs, including Secure Communities, are a more efficient use of resources."[7] Participation of localities in the 287(g) program reduced from a peak of 72 localities in 2011 to 37 in March 2017.[4] Chris Newman, National Day Laborer Organizing Network's legal director, reported in early 2017 that he thought the 287(g) program was coming to a close.[4] However, Donald Trump asked the Department of Homeland Security to build more 287(g) partnerships in a January 2017 executive order.[8] Commentators speculate that his planned expansion includes a return to the "task force" model.[9] Subsequently, a number of sheriffs requested to join the 287(g) program in the early months of the Trump administration.[4]

Civil rights violations[edit]

The US Justice Department has found that some localities participating in the 287(g) program have used their authority to commit large scale pattern or practice constitutional violations. For example, Maricopa, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio used his authority under 287(g) to justify sweeps during which Latinos were illegally racially profiled.[10][11] Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute described the situation there by saying, "there were people in yellow suits running around catching Hispanics."[4] In Alamance County, NC, sheriff’s deputies established checkpoints at entrances to Latino neighborhoods where Latino drivers were ten times more likely to be stopped than non-Latino drivers. It was also found that for the same traffic violations, Latino drivers were frequently arrested, whereas non-Latino drivers merely received citations.[12] In February 2017, the ACLU cited numerous instances of civil rights violations, patterns of racial discrimination, and patterns of improper behavior among 287(g) participating localities, and urged ICE to discontinue the program on the grounds that these localities could not be trusted to attend to constitutional and civil rights.[13]

Support and Opposition[edit]

The National Sheriffs Association has issued a position paper supporting the expansion of § 287(g), stating: "It is critical that local law enforcement maintain and build upon the partnerships with federal law enforcement to ensure that collectively we can promote, protect, and preserve the public safety and homeland security."[14] The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association have both issued statements opposing police participation in immigration enforcement on the grounds that it interferes with the "trust, communication, and cooperation" between police and the immigrant community that are necessary for police to maintain public order.[15][16][17][18][19] The Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, composed of 63 sheriffs and police chiefs signed a letter asserting that they don’t want their officers acting as immigration enforcement agents.[20] 287(g) has also been strongly opposed by the ACLU,[21] the American Immigration Council,[1] and the Southern Center for Human Rights.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The 287(g) Program: An Overview". American Immigration Council. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act". Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  3. ^ National Sheriffs' Association (14 May 2015). "2015 Sheriffs' Directory Order Form" (PDF). Alexandria, VA: National Sheriffs' Association. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Trump Administration Seeks Sheriffs' Help With Deportations". Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Pendergraph quits federal position". Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  7. ^ . Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 21 December 2012  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Trump, Donald (25 January 2017). "Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements". Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  9. ^ Feeney, Matthew (30 January 2017). "Trump Looking to Local Police for Immigration Enforcement". Cato Institute. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "United States' Investigation of Maricopa County Sheriffs' Office" (PDF) (Letter). Letter to Bill Montgomery, County Attorney, Maricopa County, AZ. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "The Long, Lawless Ride of Sheriff Joe Arpaio". Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Newman, Ronald (7 February 2017). "Unsuitability of Applicants to the 287(g) Immigration Enforcement Program" (PDF) (Letter). Letter to Bruce Friedman, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  14. ^; see also,
  15. ^ Major Cities Chiefs Association (June 2006), M.C.C. IMMIGRATION COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS For Enforcement of Immigration Laws By Local Police Agencies (PDF), retrieved 19 March 2017 
  16. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Manger, J. Thomas, EXAMINING 287(G): THE ROLE OF STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT IN IMMIGRATION LAW  Report from the Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Major Cities Chiefs Association to the House Committee on Homeland Security
  18. ^ International Association of Chiefs of Police (30 November 2004), Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State, Tribal and Local Law Enforcement (PDF), retrieved 19 March 2017 
  19. ^ Cf. Hoffmaster, Debra A.; Murphy, Gerard; McFadden, Shannon; Griswold, Molly (2010), Police and Immigration: How Chiefs Are Leading their Communities through the Challenges (PDF), Police Executive Research Forum, retrieved 19 March 2017 
  20. ^ Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force (17 March 2017), Letter to Senators (PDF), retrieved 19 March 2017 
  21. ^ "287(g) Agreements". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  22. ^ "ADVOCATES ISSUE STATEMENT CONDEMNING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S EXPANSION OF DHS'S FAILED 287(g) PROGRAM". Southern Center for Human Rights. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 

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