Please Note: This post was published in 2015 and may not contain current information.
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Immigration lawyers should become familiar with the nuances of the 287g Program Standards. This program creates a partnership between ICE and local law enforcement officials through a Memorandum of Agreement which allows local officials to perform immigration law enforcement functions.
Only after ICE personnel appropriately train local law enforcement, can local officials perform certain designated functions to process a detained individual with immigration issues.
A defense lawyer that wants to aggressively represent his or her client must be ready to challenge whether local law enforcement officials are following proper procedure under the 287g program. In my experience, many local officers are not thoroughly trained to handle the complexity of all of the immigration issues. For example, in some areas, local officers can set bond amounts for undocumented detainees. Oftentimes, in these cases, the local officer will summarily set a high bond amount. A detained individual should not accept this amount as set in stone. A defense lawyer can quickly challenge the amount by contacting the supervisory ICE officer that is the liaison between the local officials and the designated ICE office. In my experience, the ICE officer will generally be willing to consider all facts to exercise more discretion in the bond amount. Many local officials generally assume that all “illegals” are criminals and warrant a high bond amount. However, this can be overcome with proper documentation and by contacting key ICE personnel.
In addition, defense attorneys should be ready to complain to ICE officials about local officer misconduct or abuse of discretion. A well documented complaint can serve as a useful tool to prevent future local official abuses. In the complaint, the defense lawyer should challenge whether the local officers received the appropriate level of training. If it can be shown that the local officer did not receive proper training or did not have the required experience, then there is an abuse of the 287g program; and consequently, this would call for appropriate Congressional complaint.
For more information regarding the 287g Program Standards visit ICE.gov