New Report Critiques Use of Police for Immigration Enforcement – CQ Homeland Security

A new report has added fuel to the fiery debate over a controversial program that delegates federal immigration-enforcement powers to select state and local law enforcement agencies.

Opponents say the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s critique of the program — known as “287(g),” after the section of a 1996 immigration law (PL 104-208) that created it — is one more reason to shut it down. Defenders, meanwhile, say the initiative’s benefits are too important to dismiss.

The program gives specially trained law enforcement officers the ability to find and remove illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, using two methods: a “jail enforcement model” that allows them to search out illegal immigrants who have been accused of or convicted of crimes, and a “task force model” that allows the officers to look for illegal immigrants during their regular patrol or investigative duties.

Currently, 63 agencies nationwide have more than 840 trained officers participating in the program. Although ICE does not provide direct funding to these agencies, the federal government has spent about $184 million on 287(g), increasing funding from $5 million upon its establishment in fiscal 2006 to $68 million in fiscal 2010.