Federal officials cut back on 287(g), promote Secure Communities

We have talked about the 287(g) program before, but certainly not on the same scale as Secure Communities. The two programs work towards the same end — identifying illegal immigrants and deporting them accordingly — but in different ways.

287(g) partners federal and local agencies by training certain local officers to carry out federal immigration duties. Secure Communities partners federal and local agencies by sharing information about suspects, which can lead to illegal immigrant discoveries. The differences between the two programs don’t end there.

Secure Communities is proactive (for lack of a more appropriate term), charging illegal immigrants with deportation up front; while 287(g) is reactionary, screening the suspect for immigration infractions after their initial criminal case is concluded.

Because Secure Communities is significantly cheaper and more efficient, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is beginning to phase out the 287(g) program. The federal immigration agency will not renew numerous contracts it has with local agencies under the premise of 287(g) — and though Los Angeles agencies had their 287(g) contracts upheld, ICE’s decision signals a shift in immigration enforcement.

The controversial nature of Secure Communities notwithstanding, federal officials prefer the program because of its ease of use. The sharing of information between local and federal officials is more effective and more efficient. Though Secure Communities has been legally challenged many times over the past few years, it remains one of the primary tools used by the federal government to begin deportation proceedings.

With that in mind, people in Los Angeles who are facing the reality of deportation need to consult and experienced attorney as soon as they can. Pursuing your deportation defense early on is crucial, as the more time that passes the less able the individual is to make their case.

Source: Multi-American, “A phase-out for 287(g) immigration enforcement partnerships,” Leslie Berestein Rojas, Dec. 27, 2012