Friday, September 27, 2013

San Bernardino County Sheriff to Partner with ICE in Immigration Enforcement

September 27, 2013 - According to an article in the Press Enterprise, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved, without debate, a controversial program wherein the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department will receive training in immigration enforcement from the US Immigration and Custom's Enforcement agency, commonly known as ICE. Under ICE's 287(g) program, state and local law enforcement enter into a partnership with ICE under a joint memorandum of agreement and receive delegated authority from the federal government for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.

San Bernardino County is one of only 35 or so law enforcement agencies nationwide that participate in the program. Sheriff's Deputies will receive training on how to determine whether any of their inmates are in the US illegally. The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department already participates in ICE's "Secure Communities" program, which screens the fingerprints of all incoming inmates through a federal immigration database. However, those who recently entered the country illegally or who have had no prior contact with law enforcement, would not show up in the Secure Communities database. Hence, 287(g) proponents advocate its use as another tool in apprehending those who are in the country illegally.

Already, nine San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department employees have received ICE training on conducting immigration interviews with potential immigration violators who enter the county jail system. Opponents of the program say that the 287(g) program unfairly singles out Hispanics for extra scrutiny and makes no distinction between lower level crimes and felonies. Opponents also state that programs such as these diminish the community's trust in law enforcement, especially when they see local law enforcement collaborate with ICE.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department, whose agreement with ICE ended July 22, has yet to make a decision on whether to enter a new 287(g) agreement with ICE, and as such, has stopped conducting immigration interviews at their jails.

In the world of removal (deportation) defense, convictions for certain crimes can carry severe immigration consequences, with many crimes making one removable (deportable). It is therefore essential to consult with an immigration attorney the moment you or a loved one are arrested for most any crime. For example, a simple plea down to battery can avoid the deportation consequences associated with domestic violence, a removable offense per INA 237(a)(2)(E)(i). Only an Orange County immigration attorney who has the experience and familiarity with the immigration consequences of state criminal law should be trusted to handle a criminal matter for those aliens, documented or undocumented, given the extreme outcomes of certain convictions.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or is in immigration proceedings, contact an Orange County Immigration Lawyer at 949-440-3240 to speak with a licensed attorney about your immigration or criminal matter.

To read the Press Enterprise article, click on the link below.

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