August 27, 2007
New ICE ACCESS Program Provides Local Law Enforcement
Agencies Opportunities to Partner With ICE
On August 21, 2007, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) announced the new ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in
Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) program. ICE ACCESS
provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team
with ICE to address public safety concerns in their communities
which are related to immigration matters. Department of Homeland
Security Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers oversees ICE and
anticipates that the combination of federal, state, and local
resources will prove successful in enhancing public safety.
Widespread requests from local law enforcement agencies for
ICE partnerships served as the catalyst for the ACCESS programís
creation. Such partnerships are allowed by the 287(g) program of
the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes and
cross-designates local officers to enforce immigration law. Over
the span of two years, more than 60 municipal, county, and state
agencies requested 287(g) partnerships, and more than 400 local
and state officers have received program training.
However, the 287(g) program represents only one component of
the ICE ACCESS umbrella of resources offered to assist local law
enforcement officers. Additional components include CAP, LESC,
and Operation Community Shield. Under CAP, the Criminal Alien
Program, a team of officers oversees local detention facilities
to identify criminal aliens. Under LESC, the ICE Law Enforcement
Support Center, officers are able to inquire into a personís
immigration and criminal history. Operation Community Shield
focuses on dismantling violent transnational gangs on a national
level, and has been an especially successful joint venture.
Finally, ICE ACCESS also provides for the creation of local task
forces to combat document fraud and other specific challenges.
When local agencies request ICE ACCESS assistance, the first
step taken by ICE is to assess local needs. Based on these
assessments, ICE and the local agencies can then determine the
proper partnership before entering into an official agreement.