Cape’s Correctional Center Wins OK for ICE 287(g) Program

Sheriff Gary Schaffer.

Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 3:37 pm | Updated: 3:45 pm, Mon Mar 20, 2017.

CREST HAVEN – Sheriff Gary Schaffer was notified that the Cape May County Correctional Center was accepted into the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) 287(g) program.

Three currently employed correctional officers will begin training upon the next available opening, according to a release.

One officer handles investigations, one officer speaks fluent Spanish, and another officer speaks fluent Russian.

"We have been involved with ICE detainers for the last eight-plus years and nothing has changed with us participating with this agreement," Schaffer stated.

"The agreement allows these three officers access to ICE computer systems that gives us better law enforcement intelligence capabilities and speeds up the processing of the inmate. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was set up for just this purpose; the sharing of information between law enforcement at all levels.

“I must repeat, three currently employed correctional officers will be involved in the training and receive certification as deputy immigration officers and will remain in the county correctional center.

"The only way these officers will be involved with any enforcement is not until someone is committed to the county jail. The only persons impacted are individuals who commit serious and violent crimes.

"Bail reform has circumvented minor offenders from being committed to the county jail. If the person is committed to the county jail, and it is determined through investigation that they are undocumented and in the country illegally, then ICE will become involved,” continued Schaffer.

He added, “Due to the demographics of Cape May County and the job market; ICE is very active in our facility during the summer months. Since 2008, ICE has removed 143 inmates from our facility that we identified and were subsequently detained by ICE.

"In addition, during that period, 50 additional inmates were removed by ICE from other facilities on our identification; due to the fact they had pending charges in other jurisdictions after our charges were reconciled.”

In December 2010, the Cape May County Correctional Center was one of two jails in New Jersey to participate in the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) search.

This is a mandated program from ICE headquarters that screens an entire facility for any persons of interest. Upon completion of the program, the entire facility is “clear” of any inmates that can or will be detained by ICE.

“Since 2008, The County of Cape May has been awarded approximately $275,000 in State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funds; which is funded by a grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance,” according to Schaffer.

Schaffer continued by stating, “I am stressing that our officers will not be going out looking for undocumented persons.

"Families should relax. The only way our officers will become involved is if they enter our correctional facility as an inmate.

"Once again with the present bail reform in place, the chances of being placed in the correctional center have been greatly reduced unless someone has committed serious and violent crimes,” the sheriff stated.

Monmouth County has had the 287(g) program at its correctional center for the past 10 years or so without a problem.

Cape May County Correctional Center will be following the same model used by them.

“I have directed Warden (Donald) Lombardo to set up a record and audit of any inmate that becomes involved with ICE with this program to make sure everything is above board and transparent. The Cape May County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work closely with every municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. We will use every possible legal means available to protect all the residents and visitors to Cape May County,” concluded Schaffer.