How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

DHS budget proposes discontinuing 287(g) in some jurisdictions

Photo by 888bailbonds/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Los Angeles County prisoner bus, June 2009. The county participates in the federal 287(g) program.

A fiscal year 2013 budget brief released by Homeland Security today has some details on the Obama administration's immigration enforcement priorities, and one of the losers is the federal-local partnership known as 287(g).

The administration is proposing a budget reduction of $17 million up front, and the document suggests a gradual phase-out in favor of Secure Communities, which is described as "more consistent, efficient and cost effective."

From the brief:

287(g) Program: In light of the nationwide activation of the Secure Communities program, the Budget reduces the 287(g) program by $17 million. The Secure Communities screening process is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal and other priority aliens. To implement this reduction in 2013, ICE will begin by discontinuing the least productive 287(g) task force agreements in those jurisdictions where Secure Communities is already in place and will also suspend consideration of any requests for new 287(g) task forces.

Named for a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 287(g) provides training and resources to law enforcement agencies that sign a contract with the federal government to partner in immigration enforcement. Unlike the controversial Secure Communities, which the Obama administration has declared is mandatory, participation in 287(g) is optional. Los Angeles County participates in it, sharing information about county jail inmates with immigration authorities. This is another key difference, as with Secure Communities, the biometric information shared is taken during the booking process, before there is a conviction.

The budget brief recommends funding to complete nationwide deployment of Secure Communities in fiscal year FY 2013.

Another enforcement winner is E-Verify, the online employee status-check program that is mandatory nationwide, but which several states have written into anti-illegal immigration laws as mandatory for employers. According to the budget brief, $112 million is recommended "to sustain funding for the E-Verify Program operations and enhancements to help U.S. employers maintain a legal workforce." The budget also extends E-Verify authorization for another year.

The entire budget brief can be downloaded here.

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