New ICE rules governing the implementation of 287(g) programs, those aimed at allowing local law enforcement to apprehend undocumented immigrants. The new ICE rules require local law enforcement to focus on those who commit the most violent crimes and drug offenses. The changes are intended to standardize the program after a U.S. Government Accountability Office report concluded that some of the agencies in the program had overstepped their authority:
The new agreement adds a provision that says all local agency personnel are bound by federal civil rights laws and puts penalties in place for agencies that fail to follow the agreement. It requires ICE to do background checks on all Prince William police officers participating in the immigration enforcement unit.
Undocumented immigrants who commit less serious crimes, such as larceny, burglary and fraud, and have never come in contact with ICE before, will “most likely” be released after serving their sentence and will have a federal court date. ICE may hold them, however, if resources are available.
This type of standardization is long overdue. While it would be preferable if ICE were in charge of immigration issues, and local law enforcement were in charge of local crimes. Short of that, this is a step in the right direction.