New procedures for Immigrant Detainees under Section 287(g)
By Lena Korial-Yonan, Esq.
Last Updated August 17, 2010
Part One: News Flash & Background Info
The current law in Florida and other states called section 287(g) is not known by many people, but it is a law that is strikingly similar to the controversial Arizona law. Although Section 287(g) is already in effect, a newsflash that prompted the writing of this article states that as of July 23, 2010, 1,200 additional officers have been trained in applying section 287(g) in their jurisdictions. These additional 1,200 officers are law enforcement officers, not immigration officers. Among other jurisdictions from all over the US, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) participated in the training program, and they are already implementing this program.
The implementation of section 287(g) shows that the new immigration reform of 2010 is actually just immigration enforcement. In fact, enforcement against illegal individuals is at an all-time high, even higher than when former President Bush was in office.
Section 287(g) basically states that if a person is detained for any criminal reason, the officers have a right and even a responsibility to check the immigration record of each individual. If the detainee in custody is not a US citizen, then the criminal authorities immediately alerts ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) with the detainee's information. At that point, ICE will have the discretion as to whether they will place an immigration hold on the detainee or not.
It is important to note that even if the detainee is a green card holder, ICE will still be contacted with that person's immigration and criminal information, as green card holders can also be deported for committing certain crimes or having multiple convictions.
The stated policy behind the implementation of Section 287(g) is that will curb local crime, and specifically, it will curb illegal individuals remaining in the US without permission from immigration. In addition, section 287(g) was also placed into effect to hold responsible individuals who commit serious crimes and / or have multiple convictions. Some of the crimes mentioned in the policy behind Section 287(g) that need special attention are as follows:
- violent crimes
- human smuggling
- gang/organized crime activity
- sexual-related offenses
- narcotics smuggling
- money laundering
In fact, one of the biggest criticisms against Section 287(g) is that although Section 287(g) is in place to protect local areas against the above crimes and other serious crimes, the reality is that even individuals arrested for so-called "minor offenses" like driving with an expired license will also be subjected to Section 287(g). These individuals will be referred to ICE and if they are not US citizens, ICE will have the authority to place an immigration hold on then, send them to immigration jail if they pay the bond for the underlying criminal offense, and even have them undergo immigration proceedings before an immigration judge while they remain in jail.
This topic is highly debated, as many US citizens do not see driving without a license as a "minor offenses," especially if their own family members were hurt by one of these drivers. The main point to remember, though, is that space in immigration detention facilities is limited. Under general USCIS and ICE policy, available space should be reserved for "high priority" illegal immigrants or immigrants according to whether they pose a danger to society or are flight risks.
Further under Section 287(g), an arrest is enough to trigger ICE being alerted to the detainee's information. A formal conviction is NOT needed for Section 287(g) to go into effect.
Part 2 of this article can be found at Part Two: General Procedure under Section 287(g)
For more information on a recent news flash dated July 23, 2010, please see 26 law enforcement officers trained by ICE to enforce immigration law Graduates join more than 1,200 287(g) trained officers nationwide
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Lena Korial-Yonan, P.A.
9425 Craven Road, Suite 5
Jacksonville, FL 32257
Phone: (904) 448-6646
Facsimile: (904) 448-8221