How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

287(g) basics: How the federal-local immigration partnership works

Photo by 888bailbonds/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Los Angeles County prisoner bus, June 2009

Last night, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county’s participation in a partnership between Sheriff’s Department officials and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement known as 287(g), which allows deputies to screen people who land in county jail for immigration status.

Just what is 287(g)? The federal program derives its odd name from a 1996 amendment to the immigration law that authorized it. From the ICE website:

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 added Section 287(g), performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees, to the Immigration and Nationality Act. This authorizes the secretary of DHS to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of ICE officers.

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In the news this morning

Now that the battle over Arizona's SB 1070 is set to take place in federal appeals court this fall, the immigration-related news this week is no longer all Arizona, all the time. But there are a number of other interesting stories unfolding, among them these:


  • Controversy continues over a leaked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memo proposing means to legal status for certain undocumented immigrants, criticized as a plan for "backdoor amnesty," by GOP leaders, some of who are now calling for a hearing, according to the Arizona Republic. In recent days, various news outlets explained the contents of the memo. Groups it would benefit include immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean who hold temporary protected status, the Miami Herald reports.



  • The Hill is one of several publications in recent days to report on at the looming battle over the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to those born in the United States. Several GOP lawmakers, including Sen. Russell Pearce of Arizona, the architect of SB 1070, favor the idea of amending the constitution so as to deny birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants.

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