In a recent news release from the Deparment of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the State of Arizona, and the Arizona Department of Correction (ADC), an agreement was reached among these agencies in which DHS would train and certify ADC personnel in the performance of specific federal immigration enforcement tasks. ADC Director Dora Schriro and ICE and DHS officials signed a memorandum of understanding under which ICE will train 10 ADC officers in duties normally carried out by federal immigration officers. These officers will operate in two Arizona correctional facilities and their tasks will include determining the cause of an immigration violation, completing the processing of criminal aliens, preparing documentation for deportation proceedings while the prisoner serves his or her term, and preparing documentation for deportation after the prisoner has completed his or her term. Training for the ADC officers will take place during a five-week program discussing such issues as immigration law, civil rights, and intercultural relations. Upon completion the officers will receive official certification from ICE. This program is hoped to facilitate the removal of criminal aliens from the United States and to improve immigration enforcement in Arizona. Similar programs are already underway in Florida and Alabama.
In a recent press release from the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Michael Chertoff discussed a new plan for the expansion of Expedited Removal (ER) to the entire southwest border, including all Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Patrol Sectors. The ER is focusing on reducing the number of “Other than Mexicans” (OTMs) who have been in the U.S. less than 14 days and who are caught within 100 miles of the U.S. border. Chertoff states that this plan is an attempt to provide greater protection to the United States against terrorists, as well as to return undocumented immigrants to their country of origin as quickly as possible.
ER has been in effect since 1996 as a part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. It has been implemented in three border sectors already, and CBP agents have been trained and are prepared to implement the plan in all nine border sectors in the southwest.
According to DHS, this process is intended to increase the expediency of returning OTMs to their countries of origin and to reduce the amount of immigrant smuggling along the southwest border. Through recent recruiting efforts, CBP expects to have over 11,000 Border Patrol Agents by the end of they year.