Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 287(g), codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g), was added to the INA by section 133 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (Division C, Title I of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, Pub.L. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3001, enacted September 30, 1996). Section 287(g) authorizes the Federal Government to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform 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.
The March 2010 arrest of undocumented student Jessica Colotl sparked an intense debate around immigration issues, with Colotl’s supporters calling for an end to 287(g). Colotl was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia, which has 287(g) legislation, and faces deportation.
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.”