GOVERNOR ROMNEY, ICE SIGN IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PACT
Agreement permits specially trained State Troopers to enforce federal immigration law
Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and ICE that will give specially trained Massachusetts State Troopers the authority to administer and enforce federal immigration laws in the Commonwealth.
"The scope of our nation's illegal immigration problem requires us to pursue and implement new solutions wherever possible," said Romney. "State Troopers are highly trained professionals who are prepared to assist the federal government in apprehending immigration violators without disrupting their normal law enforcement routines."
"I am pleased that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has joined this very successful program. The 287(g) program represents a unique and effective partnership between ICE and state and county law enforcement agencies," said Myers. "The goal of the partnership is to seek out those who both break our nation's immigration laws and the laws of Massachusetts by engaging in criminal activity."
The ability to enter into this agreement originates from the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, effective September 30, 1996, which added Section 287(g) to the Immigration and Nationality Act. The section was enacted to enhance the federal government's ability to identify and remove foreign nationals that pose a threat to national security or public safety through closer cooperation and communication with state and local law enforcement.
Under 287(g), ICE provides state or local officers with the training and authorization to enforce federal immigration law as necessary in the course of their criminal investigative duties.
"This is a program where ICE utilizes cross-designated state and local law enforcement officers to identify and remove criminal aliens. Here in Massachusetts, we look forward to a partnership with the Massachusetts State Police to reach that goal," said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Boston.
Thirty Massachusetts State Police troopers from five units - the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad, the Criminal Investigation Section, the Anti-Gang Unit, the Drug Enforcement Unit and the Community Action Team - have been selected to attend a specialized training course developed by ICE for Massachusetts. The troopers will begin a five-week training course with ICE early next year.
The training focuses on immigration law, civil rights, intercultural relations and the issues surrounding racial profiling. Once troopers successfully complete the course and pass the related examinations, they receive official certification from ICE that grants them special 287(g) authority. After certification, ICE will continue to provide supervision and support, working with the troopers as they carry out their immigration enforcement functions.
"The Massachusetts State Police are uniquely positioned to assist our federal law enforcement partners in the enforcement of immigration laws here in the Commonwealth," said Public Safety Secretary Robert C. Haas. "The 287(g) provision provides them with the requisite authority to do so."
Under 287(g) authority, when a trained and certified trooper conducting state criminal investigations encounters an individual who is an immigration violator, he or she may question and detain the individual, charge them with a violation of immigration law if appropriate, and place the individual in removal proceedings. Section 287(g) provides a valuable extra tool to local and state authorities, particularly in cases where the individual is a criminal alien, violent felon, gang member, has been previously deported or is an immigration fugitive.
Already, 287(g) has achieved numerous successes in cooperative criminal law enforcement efforts with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Alabama Department of Public Safety and several counties in California and North Carolina.