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Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. Chairman, it is no secret that the Obama administration wants to phase out the 287(g) program. This program has successfully teamed up local law enforcement with Federal agents to pursue a wide range of investigations such as human smuggling, gang, and other organized crime activity and money laundering.
The President thinks this program is ineffective.
In order to phase out the 287(g), President Obama's FY2013 budget request struck $17 million from the program by terminating agreements and by stopping any further agreements from being signed. Thankfully, the underlying bill restores funding to the 287(g).
The 287(g) program provides State and local law enforcement with the training to identify, process, and detain possible immigration offenders. This program extends the Federal Government's ability to enforce our immigration laws without the additional overhead.
This program has been highly successful at not only apprehending immigration offenders but in facilitating the incarceration of dangerous criminals, and it has contributed to overall public safety. Nationwide, more than 1,500 officers have been trained and certified to enforce immigration laws, and there are 68 active memoranda of agreements in 24 States. Altogether, since the program's inception, 287(g) has identified over 186,000 aliens for removal.
Mr. Chairman, let me tell you about some local 287(g) success stories from my district. In February of this year, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office was able to bust a sex slave ring in Tulsa and rescue the female victims from having up to 22 men forced on them per day. This was possible because of the 287(g) partnership.
Because of this partnership, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office conducted investigations into known large shipments of amphetamine, opium and powdered testosterone, resulting in successful prosecution and asset forfeiture. Because of 287(g), the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office assisted with an arrest of nine illegal immigrants, one of whom was a child, being smuggled inhumanely in the bed of a Chevy Avalanche. Since the inception of the program in Tulsa, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office has identified, processed, and entered into immigration proceedings on over 14,000 aliens, representing those with dangerous criminal backgrounds.
Sex trafficking, drugs, and human smuggling are all part of what the 287(g) program helps to stop. These stories are from Tulsa, but every locality that participates in this program has similar and equally laudable results.
While full funding has been restored to 287(g) in H.R. 5855, the program needs further protection. In order to further insulate these successful agreements and protect them from being terminated for cost-saving purposes or political reasons, my amendment simply prevents the termination of standing 287(g) agreements. We cannot allow the Obama administration any loophole to phase out or terminate this important program and place more undue pressure on our communities already burdened by criminal illegal immigration. Simply put, until the Federal Government steps up and starts doing its job, local law enforcement will continue to pick up the slack and enforce our laws.
I encourage the adoption of my commonsense amendment by my colleagues today, and I reserve the balance of my time.
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Mr. SULLIVAN. I believe the 287(g) program has been a huge success, and I disagree with my colleagues on the other side that it's not.
What we're trying to do is get rid of criminal illegal immigrants in our country that are raping people, involved in drug trafficking, that are murdering people, that are dangerous criminals. I think the program is a huge success, and I can just tell you stories in my area about sex slaves and human trafficking.
Mr. DICKS. Reclaiming my time, again, I would just ask the gentleman to contemplate that if we have a Secure Communities program that is dealing with this same issue and doing it at 10 times less for the taxpayers and this 287(g) program has had the inspector general all over it, why wouldn't we get rid of it if it is that expensive to do and use Secure Communities? This is just a commonsense thought here.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SULLIVAN. This program actually cuts costs. It's a program that is very efficient. It's one that has to be implemented at the local levels because the Federal Government has failed to do its job.
The Federal Government doesn't do anything in immigration policy at all in this country, and it has been thrust upon local communities like my local sheriff's office. My local sheriff, Stanley Glanz, has instituted this 287(g) program in our community, and it's kept us safe and secure. We've taken it into our own hands to get people off our streets that are criminal illegal immigrants. It costs money to do that, but I think it's done in a very efficient way that cuts costs. It's done in a very efficient manner. These people are wreaking havoc on our communities, and there is a lot of cost involved in that that's not being talked about to the tune of millions and millions of dollars across this country.
I think for us, we would be abdicating our responsibility. Congressman Dicks, we would be abdicating our responsibility if we do not fund this 287(g) program. This is something we should embrace on both sides of the aisle. It's so important. Because of our location to other countries, we have people coming through our country every day smuggling people and drugs all the time. We have identity theft in our community, and it needs to be addressed. This is the only way we can do it until we have comprehensive immigration policy in this country.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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