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Trump revives program that turns peace officers into de facto immigration deputies




A photo released Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows people being arrested during an ICE operation.
A photo released Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows people being arrested during an ICE operation.
Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/AP

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The Department of Homeland Security released documents detailing President Trump's immigration plans Tuesday. 

Among the broad changes proposed is an order to revive a controversial clause in the Immigration and Nationality Act that falls under section 287(g).

The program outlined in this section gives extended power to local law enforcement, allowing them to them help with deportations.

Here are four things to know about Program 287(g), as told by Louis DeSipio, professor of political science and Chicano studies at UC Irvine.

What is it?

287(g) is a delegation of authority to local and state police forces to enforce federal immigration law. It gives local law enforcement the ability to detain people based on their immigration status. It empowers local police to pursue federal immigration objectives.

The program is about a decade old.

It's been around for about ten years. It was implemented in the Bush Administration. It ramped up toward the end of the Bush Administration, entering the first Obama administration. 

During the Obama years, it was focused on undocumented immigrants who had committed felonies. Local police were then instructed and encouraged to pursue those folks at the behest of the federal government, and it gave them training on how to identify those people.

Departments must opt-in

There's been no requirement for local law enforcement to participate. It was a voluntary program, and it was used by the majority of police in the country.

Currently, the Orange County Sheriff's Office is the only California law enforcement agency participating in the program.

It could become mandatory if... 

Presumably, the federal government could change the law if they were willing to ensure that local police departments would only get grants if they participated in 287(g). That was not the policy of either the Bush or Obama Administrations, and I think it would change the relationship between the federal government at some of the states, particularly California, that has the Trust Act on the books that precludes local police from participating in certain kinds of federal enforcement actions.

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview. 

Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.