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18 Texas counties sign immigration agreements with ICE

If people were asked the meaning of the term 287(g) agreement, they might guess it references some sort of pact between a delinquent taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service, or even some arcane provision of the Texas Penal Code.    

While these are both good guesses, a 287(g) agreement actually references a formal written agreement entered into between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a U.S. county to train the jailers at local sheriff's offices to play an active role in immigration enforcement.

Specifically, ICE trains these jailers on steps to take to determine whether a person they have in custody is wanted for a violation of U.S. immigration law and, if this proves to be the case, alert the necessary officials.

The program, which has been in effect since 1996, slowed down considerably during the second term of President Barack Obama. Indeed, only six new 287(g) agreements were executed between 2012 and 2016.

However, this changed considerably after President Donald Trump took the Oval Office in January. Just a few days into his presidency, the president signed an executive order calling for the 287(g) program to undergo a considerable expansion.

In keeping with this mandate, ICE announced earlier this week that it had forged 287(g) agreements with 18 of Texas' 254 counties, which have a collective population of roughly 1.5 million people.

"There’s no doubt that arresting removable aliens in a jail is safer for the officers, safer for the community and even safer for the alien himself," said the Acting ICE Director at a news conference to announce the signings.

To date, ICE has 60 active 287(g) agreements across the United States, which is almost double the amount active last year. It's worth noting, however, that several of the Lone Star State's most populous counties, including Harris and Bexar, were not among the 18.

It will be interesting to see if the number of counties executing 287(g) agreements with ICE grows in the years ahead …

If you have concerns relating to a complex immigration issue, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can answer your questions, explain the law and protect your rights.

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