Many law enforcement agencies have discussed whether or not they will sign 287(g) agreements, but what those agreements entail can be confusing. Simply put, a 287(g) agreement comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and it allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deputize law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration agents. It is important to note that immigration is a federal issue, and that ICE is a federal agency. As such, it is not the place of local and state law enforcement agencies to enforce federal policies in place of or to act as ICE.
These deputized officers can do the following:
- Interview individuals to ascertain their immigration status.
- Check DHS databases for information on individuals.
- Issue immigration detainers to hold individuals until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes custody.
- Enter data into ICE’s database and case management system.
- Issue a Notice to Appear (NTA), the official charging document that begins the removal process.
- Make recommendations for voluntary departure in place of formal removal proceedings.
- Make recommendations for detention and immigration bond.
- Transfer non-citizens into ICE custody.
The 287(g) agreements cause a number of problems for local communities, including:
- High costs for local agencies, as they have to to pay for the officers’ travel, housing, and per diem during training as well as salaries, overtime, other personnel costs, and administrative supplies.
- Increasing widespread racial profiling, as discovered by two separate investigations by the Department of Justice.
- Targeting those who commit misdemeanors and traffic offenses rather than violent criminals, according to a report by the Migration Policy Institute.
- Hindering community policing by damaging the relationship between the police and community, as reported by the Police Executive Research Forum.
- A lack of appropriate guidance and supervision from ICE, which led to the faltering of standards and program objections according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security.
Neither the Nassau nor Suffolk County Police Departments have signed any 287(g) agreements at the time of writing.