WASHINGTON (STL.News) – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen traveled to Austin, Texas, where she delivered remarks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Midyear meeting between heads of state police agencies, police chief associations, and midsize agencies.
During her remarks, the Secretary reaffirmed the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) commitment to supporting, enabling, and empowering our law enforcement partners, issuing a call to deepen collaboration between DHS and the IACP to combat emerging threats and create resilient communities. The Secretary thanked the men and women of the IACP for their hard work and vigilance, stressing the importance of working together in the common commitment to apprehend, detain, and bring to justice criminals who threaten the safety of American citizens.
In McAllen, Texas, Secretary Nielsen met with over two-dozen sheriffs for a roundtable discussion on the importance of secure borders and immigration enforcement to the safety of their communities; specifically—their mutual collaboration through the 287(g) program.
The program, one of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) top partnership initiatives, allows a state or local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE—under a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)—in order to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdiction’s program to remove criminals and gang members who proliferate crime, gang violence, drugs, and other illicit materials. Secretary Nielsen touched on current operational challenges, outlined strategic objectives, and highlighted the important role our law enforcement partners play in support of the 287(g) program.
In Fiscal Year 2018, our 287(g) partners had over 25,000 encounters with known or suspected criminal illegal aliens. This resulted in over 7,000 criminal and immigration violator removals in Fiscal Year 2018.
“It should come as no surprise that criminals don’t care about borders. We’ve seen them use the security crisis to boost their profits, their violence, their exploitation of vulnerable populations. Business is booming for the bad guys, and I again call on Congress to change the laws that are now outdated and do not address today’s crisis,” said Secretary Nielsen. “This is truly an emergency and our system is at the breaking point. I want to again thank our partner Sheriffs for their service and the hard work they do every day.”
“I commit to all Americans that at DHS we’re doing everything we can to stop the drug trafficking, the child exploitation, the gang violence—to protect vulnerable populations and to protect our communities. But we can only do so much and Congress must act to fix this crisis.”
Recently, in Galveston County, Texas, DHS 287(g) partners encountered an alien convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child, who is a two time reentry non-registered sex offender who served 10 years of deferred probation in 2004, and who had been freely walking around Texas communities. Additionally, in Smith County, Texas in January 2019, 287(g) partners encountered an alien convicted of felony burglary, drug possession, identify fraud, and felony theft.
Secretary Nielsen, who was joined by ICE Acting Director Ronald D. Vitiello, U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch, and Jackson County, Texas Sheriff AJ Louderback, then participated in a media availability to reiterate the Department’s shared commitment to the safety of our communities and applauded the sheriffs for their joint efforts through the 287(g) program.