On July 10, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it was using its executive authority to severely limit the application of the 287(g) program. Secretary Janet Napolitano announced her Department would do this by rewriting and standardizing agreements with participating local law enforcement agencies to ensure that their 287(g) operations could only target criminal aliens. This change would make the program comport with ICE’s so-called “enforcement priorities.”
Under the 287(g) program, established in 1996 by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act, state and local law enforcement agencies may enter into agreements with DHS to receive training and assist in the enforcement of immigration laws at the local level. When Congress adopted the program, it did not specify or prioritize which illegal aliens should be targeted by the program, but rather gave state and local governments broad leeway to determine how to implement 287(g) to best serve and protect the interests of their communities. This included pursuing all immigration violators.
While Secretary Napolitano intended to severely limit the scope of the 287(g) program, she sold the change differently. “This new agreement supports local efforts to protect public safety by giving law enforcement the tools to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens,” said Secretary Napolitano. “It also promotes consistency across the board to ensure that all of our state and local law enforcement partners are using the same standards in implementing the 287(g) program.” Notably, she also said that the new 287(g) agreements will “address concerns that individuals may be arrested for minor offenses as a guise to initiate removal proceedings.”
Read more at FAIR’s President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.