he Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) point of contact with the law enforcement community. The LESC's effort is to share critical enforcement information with state, county, local and international law enforcement officers. It is a single point of contact that provides timely immigration status and identity information and real-time assistance to United States local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on aliens suspected, arrested or convicted of criminal activity. The LESC assists law enforcement agencies with information gathered from eight immigration databases, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III) and other state criminal history indices.
The LESC is the focal point for the ICE National Crime Information Center (NCIC) program. The NCIC Immigration Violators File (IVF) with its separate immigration violator categories was established on August 25, 2003. The IVF presently consists of three functioning categories: the Deported Felon File, an Absconder category, and a National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) violator category. All of the violators for whom there are records in NCIC are subject to criminal prosecution.
The primary users of the LESC are state and local law enforcement officers seeking information about aliens encountered in the course of their daily duties. The LESC takes electronic inquiries from police over the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), searches more than 93 million immigration records, and gives the officer on the street information on the foreign national under investigation. If ICE wants the individual for criminal or immigration violations, special agents at the LESC can place a detainer with the local department and then notify the nearest ICE agent for a follow-up investigation. Agents at the LESC place more than 1,000 immigration detainers per month. During the federal government's fiscal year 2004 special agents at the LESC placed more than 15,000 immigration detainers on individuals wanted by ICE with police departments in the United States. An average of 42 detainers are placed every 24 hours.
The LESC also receives queries from federal, state and local correctional systems and court systems seeking information about individuals in custody or encountered elsewhere in a criminal justice system. This information is immediately available by using the Immigration Alien Query (IAQ) screen on the NLETS menu, the same system law enforcement agencies use to access NCIC. By using the IAQ, law enforcement officers have immediate access to not only alien records entered in NCIC, but immigration information from every alien file maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to responding to immigration inquires from police agencies, the LESC answers the Homeland Security tipline (866 DHS-2ICE). During the federal fiscal year 2004 law enforcement technicians at the tipline answered more than 27,000 calls. Technicians and special agents at the LESC analyze the tips and those considered viable law enforcement leads are referred to the appropriate field office for further action. During the 2004 federal fiscal year the LESC forwarded more than 3,500 leads to field agents.
Members of the LESC team continue to enter ICE records into the NCIC and in 2004 federal fiscal year more than 51,700 were entered bringing the total number of ICE records in NCIC to 155,645. Records entered into NCIC include deported felons, absconders and NSEERS violators.
The LESC is the central point of contact for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) program established by the Brady Act. All foreign-born, noncitizen applicants to purchase a firearm in the United States who are checked by the FBI are also screened by the LESC for immigration status before being authorized to purchase or possess a weapon. The LESC conducts nearly 5,000 Brady checks each month.
Similarly, the LESC provides immigration background information to the U.S. Secret Service on foreign-born individuals seeking to visit the White House. The LESC assists the Secret Service to screen nearly 3,500 potential White House visitors each month.
The LESC responds to queries related to national security employment issues in critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation. The LESC also provides support to a variety of multiagency initiatives led by ICE field units, task forces and other federal, state, and local investigators.
ICE effectively uses the LESC to consolidate and enhance its response to state and local law enforcement agencies seeking assistance in immigration related enforcement matters, including requests for NCIC h it confirmations, status and identity information and assistance in instances of suspected over the road alien smuggling. Twenty-fours a day, special agents assigned to the LESC Communications Center are available to lodge detainers with state and local law enforcement agencies against individuals wanted by ICE or of law enforcement interest to ICE. LESC agents also facilitate ICE assistance to state and local law enforcement officers when notified of over the road alien smuggling cases.
The LESC has a key role in receiving and disseminating information received from members of the public nationwide using a toll-free ICE hot line (1-866-DHS-2ICE). The ICE hot line receives an average of 100 phone calls a day with law enforcement information from the public that is analyzed and quickly forwarded to ICE field units by the law enforcement staff at the LESC. Telephone number 1-866-DHS-2ICE is available to the public to report information about child sex offenders and others that put children at risk. Telephone number 1-866-DHS-2ICE is a critical link to Operation Predator, the ICE investigative program directed at arresting and prosecuting child sex predators.
For more information about ICE visit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Web site at (www.ice.gov). ■