Thread: Sheriff praises 287(g) program
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- 03-19-2012, 11:53 PM #1
Sheriff praises 287(g) program
Sheriff praises 287(g) program
March 19, 2012 11:07 PM
Chris Lavender / Times-News
GRAHAM — Sheriff Terry Johnson said Monday during an Alamance County Board of Commissioners meeting he believes the 287(g) program currently operated by the county is more effective in removing criminal aliens from the community than the Secure Communities program being rolled out nationwide by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The 287(g) program trains and authorizes local law enforcement and jailers as federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for the purpose of deporting people in the country illegally. The Sheriff’s Office implemented the program in 2007 in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. Alamance County is among six jurisdictions statewide that currently use 287(g), Johnson said.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano unveiled on
Feb. 13 the Department of Homeland Security’s fiscal year 2012-13 budget request for $39.5 billion in net discretionary funding. The budget proposal calls for using another DHS program, Secure Communities, rather than 287(g) beginning in 2013 nationwide. Secure Communities already exists in some communities including in North Carolina, Johnson said.
Secure Communities uses an existing federal information-sharing partnership between ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that helps to identify criminal aliens without imposing new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement.
Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement — and the federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Southern Region Communications Director Vincent Picard said in late February that the nationwide activation of the Secure Communities program would be more efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal aliens than the 287(g) program.
ICE plans to discontinue the least productive 287(g) task force agreements in those jurisdictions where Secure Communities is already in place, Picard said. Johnson said Monday that the Sheriff’s Office would continue to operate 287(g) as long as the federal government allowed it to run the program.
Commissioner Tim Sutton questioned Johnson’s commitment to 287(g) during a Feb. 20 commissioners’ meeting after the program’s number of illegal immigrants processed decreased, causing jail revenues to decrease sharply. Sutton said during the commissioners’ meeting Monday his comments last month weren’t criticism of Johnson, but that he believed he needed to ask questions about how the program was operated.
Sutton credited Johnson for helping bring 287(g) to the county in 2007 and said he would continue to support Johnson running the program.
“I just want us to be on top of our game,” Sutton said.
During the public comment period Monday, Eddie Shoe, of Mebane, questioned Johnson about what it costs the county to run 287(g). Shoe said he had repeatedly asked Johnson about what the additional cost was to run the program but the sheriff hadn’t provided an answer to his question.
Johnson said there aren’t any additional costs for the Sheriff’s Office in the field because it is charged to enforce the law for everybody despite legal status. Johnson said it costs $46 a day to house inmates at the jail.
Lash Wrightenberry, of Burlington, also spoke about the 287(g) program during the meeting. Wrightenberry said Alamance County residents should be thankful that Johnson is operating the program.
“What would we do if we didn’t have him running 287(g)?” Wrightenberry asked.
During the meeting, Johnson said there were 69 U.S. Marshals Service inmates and 29 ICE inmates held at the jail Monday. The number of U.S. Marshals Service inmates held at the jail has increased in recent weeks, while the ICE inmate population at the jail has decreased, said Johnson.
Johnson said 287(g) processing had declined at the jail and nationwide for several reasons including the fact that there are now less restrictive rules for the program, illegal immigrants are leaving the United States because they can’t find jobs due to the economy, and there has been a reduction in ICE manpower.
Johnson also said many illegal immigrants in the region are better informed now by advocate groups on how to avoid law enforcement detection.
During 2010, there were 402 detainees interviewed in Alamance County through 287(g), of which 172 were illegal immigrants turned over to full federal control. There were 464 detainees interviewed in 2009, of which 251 were illegal immigrants turned over to full federal control.
Sheriff praises 287(g) program | program, sheriff, graham - Burlington Times NewsNO AMNESTY
DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP