DHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released an updated report on the Performance of 287(g) Agreements which provides the same dreary account of the program as the first one. The April 2010 OIG report found that ICE and its local law enforcement partners have not complied with the terms of their 287(g) Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs), that the standards by which deputized officers are evaluated are not in line with the stated objectives of the 287(g) program, that the program is poorly supervised by ICE, and that additional oversight is necessary. It included 33 recommendations to improve the program, 28 of which, the new report finds, still remain open.

While ICE has taken action to implement the recommended improvements, the OIG notes that some of ICE’s action plans and draft documents “do not fully address critical issues outlined in our prior report.”

Furthermore, the new report contains 16 additional recommendations that ICE:

  1. Establish a process to ensure effective management controls and accountability over the 287(g) program and its funding;
  2. Develop and implement a strategy for ensuring success of the compliance review process; and
  3. Establish a comprehensive approach for determining whether 287(g) program goals for removing criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety are being achieved.

In other words, ICE needs to keep better track of its money, make sure someone is checking on the local jurisdictions, and figure out how to make sure that they’re really prioritizing the “worst of the worst.”

The last one seems particularly important in light of repeated claims that ICE is targeting serious criminal threats and an October 6, 2010 press conference where Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced “unprecedented numbers of convicted criminal alien removals” in FY2010. The OIG noted that ICE needs better performance measures to ensure that the 287(g) program aligns with ICE’s 3-tiered priority system and focuses on those who pose a threat to public safety or are a danger to the community, which is the stated purpose of the 287(g) program. ICE does now require its law enforcement partners to submit monthly data showing all encounters between police and immigrants within each priority level, and ICE then monitors the data to determine whether the arrest activities are consistent with ICE’s priority levels. The OIG notes that there are no real measures to compare the statistics to priority levels, and there is no follow up process to ensure that actions taken by the police actually result in better adherence to the priorities.

The OIG report makes it even clearer that ICE can continue to talk about its priorities, but unless it has mechanisms to measure progress and ensure compliance, it’s very difficult to hold to those priorities. By putting immigration enforcement into the hands of local police, ICE makes achieving those priorities even more difficult.

Photo by mayu.