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ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) programs, 287(g), Secure Communities and CAP Program, cross-designate local officers to enforce immigration law as authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Educational Materials/Materiales Educativos

  • Popular Education Version of SB 1070/La 1070 Versión Popular - Spanish PDF
  • S-Comm ("Secure Communities) Popular Education - Spanish PDF
  • Cuídese de la 287g y S-Comm Popular Education - Spanish PDF
  • Uncover the Truth Facts Sheet on S-Comm - Spanish PDF
  • Uncover the Truth Facts Sheet on Secure Comm - English PDF
  • Vigilancia y Prensa del Pueblo a la Policía, la Migra y los Alguaciles- PDF
  • Cuídese de las "Comunidades Seguras" - Blanco y Negro PDF | Color PDF
  • Lo Que Usted Debe Saber en Caso de Una Redada de la Migra - PDF
  • Que Hacer Ante Las Redadas - PDF
  • Levanta tu Cara, Defienda Tus Derechos - Blanco y Negro PDF | Color PDF
  • Lo Que Usted Debe Saber de la SB1070 - PDF
  • Organizacíon y Funcionamiento de los CDB - Blanco y Negro PDF | Color PDF
  • Alerta Con la 287(g) - Blanco y Negro PDF | Color PDF
  • Talking Points on 287(g) - English (password protected, for access) PDF
  • Talking Points on 287(g) - Spanish (password protected, for access) PDF

287(g) Program

Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), effective September 30, 1996, authorizes the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

The Federal Government, not cops, should enforce immigration laws; 287(g) programs make communities less safe

  • Sheriffs and Police Chiefs around the country find that deputizing state and local law enforcement officials to enforce civil immigration laws interferes with their core mission of protecting and serving the community that they police. Community members become less likely to report crimes or come forward as witnesses for fear that they or someone in their community will be deported.
  • The Major Cities Chiefs Association concluded:
    “Immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect and undermine the level of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities. . . . Such a divide between the local police and immigrant groups would result in increased crime against immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing future terroristic acts.”
  • When community members stop cooperating with law enforcement, everyone is less safe.

This creates a second class system of justice for immigrants that is Un-American and is not in sync with our values; 287(g) programs have resulted in rampant racial profiling.

  • Racial profiling has long been recognized as an ineffective law enforcement tactic. The Department of Justice 2003 racial profiling guideance states: “Racial profiling in law enforcement is not merely wrong, but also ineffective. Race-based assumptions in law enforcement perpetuate negative racial stereotypes that are harmful to our rich and diverse democracy, and materially impair our efforts to maintain a fair and just society.”
  • Police officers acting under the authority of 287(g) agreements have set up check points near Latino churches and flea markets. This behavior diverts limited police resources from their core missions of preventing and solving crimes, and generates mistrust in the community it patrols, resulting in less community security. Currently, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, a participant in the 287(g) program, is under investigation by the Department of Justice for violations of racial profiling and discriminatory application of the law.

Hurts everyone, including U.S. Citizens; 287(g) casts a wide net that snares immigrants, lawful permanent residents and citizens alike.

  • It is impossible for police to distinguish between citizens, legal residents, lawful immigrants, and undocumented immigrants on sight. This leads to police officers pulling over or stopping people they believe look “foreign.”
  • U.S. citizens have been detained, frisked and questioned for listening to Spanish music in order to ask about their citizenship. Pedro Guzman, a developmentally disabled U.S. Citizen born and raised in the United States, was deported to Mexico under a 287(g) agreement. It took him 3 months to find his way back to the United States.

Irresponsibly expensive and unfocused; 287(g) programs are costly to the agency using them

  • By statute, the Federal Government provides no funding to states and localities to implement 287(g) programs. Participating jurisdictions are also responsible for any lawsuits arising from conduct related to 287(g) agreements. Officials in Gaston County, NC noted 287(g) is a “drain on their resources.”
  • The Goldwater Institute found that in Maricopa County, AZ, shortly after signing their Memorandum of Agreement to participate in 287(g), “deputies amassed 4,500 extra hours per two-week pay period, compared to the previous average of 2,900 overtime hours. The predictable result was a $1.3 million deficit in MCSO’s budget in only three months.”
  • Chief Manger from Montgomery County, MD told Congress, “Enforcing federal law is an unfunded mandate that most agencies just cannot afford to do.”

287(g) programs do not meet their stated goals

  • Although the 287(g) program states its priority as targeting violent felons and threats to community safety, the numbers tell a very different story.
  • ICE-deputized officers in Gaston, North Carolina, reported that 95% of state charges from 287(g) arrests were misdemeanors. Another nearby county reported that 80% percent of their 287(g) arrests were for misdemeanors with 45% being non-DWI traffic violations.


Secure Communities Fact Sheet

Secure Communities is ICE's strategy to identify and remove undocumented detainees from the United States. Secure Communities is essentially a technology-intensive version of CAP, allowing instantaneous information-sharing among local jails, ICE, and the FBI. The critical element of the program is that, during booking in jail, arrestees’ fingerprints will
be checked against DHS databases, rather than just against FBI criminal databases. The system automatically notifies ICE and the locality when there is a “hit.” (

What is Secure Communities?

Secure Communities” is a national immigration program that targets noncitizens who are arrested by the police. A local law enforcement authority must agree to implement Secure Communities. It is one of the fastest growing immigration enforcement programs in the country.

Do police or local government need to sign an agreement with ICE to sign on to Secure Communities?

Not necessarily. ICE signs an agreement with state agencies that manages fingerprints collected from arrestees. ICE tries to get the agreement of local governments to sign on the program.

How does Secure Communities work?

If you are arrested by police, your fingerprints are taken and forwarded to ICE. The fingerprints are crosschecked with immigration and FBI databases. ICE evaluates each fingerprint scan to see what enforcement action, if any, will be taken against you. Enforcement actions can include arrest by ICE, transfer to ICE custody and/or initiation of removal proceedings.

What offenses will trigger Secure Communities?

Every offense (unless your community has worked out a separate agreement). For example, disorderly conduct, assault, trespassing, vandalism, and joyriding are some charges that will be run through the Secure Communities system.

When will my fingerprints be forwarded to ICE?

After arrest when you are being booked in the police station. . During booking, the police will interview you, collect detailed biographical information, scan your fingerprints, and take photographs.

Will ICE have my fingerprints if my arrest is dismissed or ruled unlawful?

Because your fingerprints are forwarded during booking, ICE will have your fingerprint data even if the charges are dismissed or ruled unlawful.

What if the charges are dropped entirely or dropped to a lower offense?

ICE will have your fingerprints because they were transferred when you were booked for your original offense.

What if I’m a victim of domestic violence and the police arrests both me and my batterer, but the charges against me are later dropped?

If you are charged with an offense that is not on the list of exemptions, ICE will retain your fingerprints even after the charges are dropped, because they will have been transferred at the time of your arrest and booking. Currently, there is no way to retract fingerprint data once they are forwarded to ICE, even if the charges are ultimately dropped or the arrest was unjustified.

How does this affect minors?

ICE did not exclude fingerprints of minors from Secure Communities; practices vary from place to place.

What does ICE do after they have my fingerprints?

ICE evaluates each case to see what enforcement action will be taken. Enforcement actions can include arrest by ICE, transfer to ICE custody and/or initiation of removal proceedings. If the database match is inconclusive, ICE agents may attempt to interview you by phone, video or inperson to determine whether you are a noncitizen. After you are booked, ICE agents may ask police to help them collect information about you so that can determine if you are a noncitizen. You should ask your police department whether they have decided to grant these ICE requests.
Generally, ICE uses a "detainer" to track you within the criminal justice system. A detainer is a an ICE form (Form I-247) requesting the police or jail to hold you for an extra 48 hours after your criminal case has resolved or you have been ordered released from jail so that ICE can pick you up. Ask police officers, jail officials, or your criminal defense attorney for a copy of an ICE detainer. If a police or jail holds you longer than 48 hours after your criminal case has ended, then they are holding you illegally. File a complaint with a jail or police. You can file a lawsuit against them.

Who is most at risk under the Secure Communities program?

Everyone. People with prior deportation orders, any noncitizen with a criminal conviction or those who have violated the terms of any visa are at very high risk. Undocumented individuals who entered the country without inspection arguably will not have any fingerprint information in the DHS database although ICE may still decide to interview them.

Does this mean that the police or my city is collaborating with ICE?

Yes. Although Secure Communities program is a technology program, ICE must rely on local enforcement agents and jails to collect or forward information about your immigration status that was acquired during booking. This means if the Secure Communities database hit isn't clear, ICE will check-in with your local police or jail to see if they can get more information about your alienage.

Is this community policing?

Many police departments view this program as part of their community policing program. ICE asks local enforcement authorities to include it as a community policing initiative. However, many groups believe SC undermines police!s community policing policies because it represents collaboration with ICE. Local law enforcement agencies and police chiefs have rejected collaboration between ICE because it erodes public trust. It is already extremely challenging forlocal law enforcement to work with immigrant communities because of distrust and fear of deportation; this program will further strain these fears. When community members fear law enforcement, everyone is less safe.

The local government says Secure Communities is designed to target serious criminals. Does it do so?

Statistically the Department of Homeland Security!s own data indicates that the majority of individuals identified through SC were charged with low level offenses. Additionally, the program forwards fingerprints at arrest, not at conviction. (This means that fingerprints are forwarded before the person has been convicted of any crime.)

What should I do if ICE tries to interview me while I am in police custody or in jail?

You do not have to speak with ICE agents nor do you have sign any papers. You do not have to answer questions about immigration status. State that you are remaining silent until you speak with your attorney. Make sure you tell your criminal defense lawyer or public defender that ICE has tried to contact you and ask them to evaluate the immigration consequences of any possible plea deal or conviction. Request a copy of the detainer from your criminal defense attorney, police officers or the jail.

What if I feel I was targeted for arrest because of my ethnicity or race or experienced other civil rights abuses by police in the name of immigration enforcement?

Contact your local immigrants rights organization or the local ACLU. Write a description as soon as you can after the event, and collect information from witnesses, if any. If you remember the names or badge numbers of the jail or police officers who abused you.

Download Secure Communities Fact Sheet PDF: English | Spanish


Freedom of Information Act on Secure Communities

The National Day Laborer Organization (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (FOIA), for information pertaining to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) new "Secure Communities" program.

The program, launched in March 2008, further involves state and local entities in the enforcement of federal immigration law. Secure Communities institutes a mechanism to run fingerprints through various databases when individuals are arrested – even for minor charges or if charges are dismissed. These checks are performed on presumptively innocent arrestees prior to conviction, raising serious doubts as to the program’s true objectives. Although ICE presents Secure Communities as an innocuous information sharing program, it seems designed to function as a dragnet to funnel even more people into the already mismanaged ICE detention and removal system. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Secure Communities has been implemented in at least 95 jurisdictions. However, no regulations have been promulgated and little information is available about the program in the public domain. The limited information that has been released is vague and seems to indicate that ICE is not executing its stated enforcement priorities.

See full details and status of the legal case at CCR’s page on the Secure Communities FOIA.

On April 2, 2010, DHS's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report that offered a damaging critique of the 287(g) program. The report, The Performance of 287(g) Agreements, identifies numerous shortcomings that lead to abuse and mismanagement and raises serious questions about the wisdom of state and local immigration enforcement partnerships with ICE. See statement from NDLON regarding the OIG report.


Criminal Alien Program (CAP)

CAP focuses on identifying undocumented person who are incarcerated within federal, state, or local prisons and jails. The program is administered by the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO), which assigns officers to these facilities. Generally, law enforcement agencies notify ICE of foreign-born detainees in their custody based on information obtained from the booking process. (


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