U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. on February 9, 2017. Courtesy Bryan Cox/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via REUTERS

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are stepping up their presence in the Madison area. Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney tells News 3 he was recently contacted by an ICE officer who was just assigned to Madison.

Mahoney says the ICE official asked him for the county’s participation in the 287(g) Program, which enlists local officers to assist the agency.

That program is a part of a crackdown on immigration that has been a focus of President Donald Trump’s administration. Sheriff Mahoney says his staff is already doing an outstanding job at building trust in our community, trust within our immigrant community, and our community at large. Mahoney says this program by ICE does the opposite of what his deputies do every day.

“They already have a tough job and have a lot of duties to carry out, and it shouldn’t be that they’re now becoming federal agents to carry out the will of a federal administration that now wants local law enforcement to carry out their duties,” Sheriff Mahoney told News 3. “If that’s the step the administration wants to go, then they need to take the steps to get additional staff to carry out their mission.”

Mahoney claims ICE cautioned him that without his cooperation in detaining inmates, federal agents would be forced to hunt down offenders in the community, which poses unnecessary risks.

Mahoney says other law enforcement officials in the county have also refused to cooperate with ICE. We’re told the ICE officer works out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Madison.