E.g., 06/09/2023
E.g., 06/09/2023
Delegation and Divergence: 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement
January 2011

Delegation and Divergence: 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement

This report finds that the Section 287(g) program of the Immigration and Nationality Act—which permits the federal government to delegate immigration enforcement powers to state and local officers—is not targeted primarily at serious offenders, despite statements by administration officials. In assessing the implementation, enforcement outcomes, costs, and community impacts of the 287(g) program, the report finds that about half of 287(g) activity involves noncitizens arrested for misdemeanors and traffic offenses. The program authorizes screenings for immigration status, issuing detainers to hold people on immigration violations and generating the charges that begin the process of their removal from the United States.

Currently, the statutory language of section 287(g), combined with the Obama administration’s statements and guidelines, and implementation practices by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allow jurisdictions to operate the 287(g) program in fundamentally different ways across the country. Still, formal changes unveiled by ICE in 2009 have not substantially changed program priorities, operations, outcomes, or community impacts.

The report recommends that ICE seek to ensure the program functions consistently across jurisdictions and reconfirm the program is intended to target primarily serious criminals or people who have prior criminal convictions, represent a threat to national security, or have prior removal orders.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Summary of Research Questions and Methodology

III. History and Overview of the Program

A. Brief History of the 287(g) Program

B. Overview of the 287(g) Program as It Currently Operates

C. The 287(g) Program Compared to Other ICE Partnerships

IV. Study Findings

A. 287(g) Program Outcomes

B. Program Goals and Motivations

C. Program Implementation

D. Program Accountability

E. Immigrant Community Impacts and Perceptions

V. Conclusions and Recommendations