Sheriff’s Office Ends 287(g) Immigration Enforcement Program

May 1, 2015

After careful consideration and consultation by staff of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Springs Police Department, The Sheriff’s Office would like to announce that effective Thursday, April 30, the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) will no longer participate in the 287(g) Program and will not continue to hold inmates that have been detained under the Program who have no local or Federal charges pending.

On September 30, 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act enacted Section 287(g) to the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Section 287(g), authorized the Federal Government to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to permit designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.  This allowed for selected and trained officers to have access to Federal immigration databases and empowered them to interrogate, arrest and detain non-citizens believed to have violated federal immigration laws.

Since its inception in 1996, the Program has attracted a wide range of criticism.  Among the concerns, critics say it lacked proper Federal oversight, exhausted local resources and ultimately, resulted in the profiling of undocumented immigrants.

When the Sheriff’s Office became involved with the Program in September 2007, there were about 70 participating agencies across the nation.  At the time, the Program was fairly new to the state of Colorado and only Colorado State Patrol was participating as part of their human trafficking task force.  As of September 2014, no other agencies in Colorado participate in the program and only 34 agencies in 17 states remain active.

Although beneficial at the time, we have found the program duplicates efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The resources used to operate this Program will now be allocated to local issues related to the operation of Intake and Release at the Criminal Justice Center. The end of this Program signifies the Sheriff’s Office commitment to fiscal responsibility and the strengthening of relationships with all citizens of the community. 

MR 15-023