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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Texas - Occupied State - The Front Line

    NC - Jailers could start deporting illegals ... 0770108071

    Jailers could start deporting illegals

    by Jordan Schrader, JSCHRADE@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM
    published January 9, 2007 12:15 am

    HENDERSONVILLE — Jailers in Henderson County would identify inmates who are in the United States illegally and start the process of deporting them under an agreement awaiting final federal approval.

    The county with the greatest proportion of Hispanics in Western North Carolina is at the forefront of a nationwide move to employ a little-used 1996 law. It allows local law enforcement to train as immigration agents.

    One count in October found more than 18 percent of the jail’s 174 inmates were suspected illegal immigrants, Sheriff Rick Davis said.

    He has no way of knowing for sure without checking a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement database of thousands of fingerprints and photos, to which detention officers would gain access after four weeks of training under the new program.

    Davis has assured advocates in the Hispanic community that the move doesn’t signal impending roundups.

    But it has produced some panic among the clients served by Patrick Tapia, executive director of the Latino Advocacy Coalition in Hendersonville.

    “There’s a huge fear right now of being stopped in a regular traffic check,” Tapia said, “and people are asking themselves, should we leave the county and just go to some other place where there’s no such regulation?”

    Talks continue this week for the county to follow just eight other agencies around the country with trained immigration agents, including the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department, which since it began the program in May has marked more than 1,070 people for deportation.

    Effect on criminals, victims
    "Every one that I deport is one that’s less likely to kill me on the highway,” Mecklenburg Sheriff Jim Pendergraph said.

    He says 25 percent of drunken drivers his deputies arrest are illegal immigrants, a problem also faced in WNC’s swelling community of newcomers.

    The primary targets of the Henderson County initiative, though, are the dealers of methamphetamine and other drugs imported from Mexico.

    “It’s to get the worst of the worst off the street,” Davis said.

    Henderson County is a hub for meth entering the region from Mexico. As home meth labs decline, investigators have targeted dealers of the imported drugs.

    Major federal meth investigations in 2006 that involved Henderson County led to the indictment of 80 people.

    The program Davis describes, Tapia says, sounds like a “wonderful effort.”

    “It really doesn’t matter whether they are Latino or black or white or Asian, for that matter,” Tapia said. “If they are doing that kind of (criminal) activity, there’s no question that we don’t need them circulating out there in the streets.”

    Like other advocates for the Hispanic community, he is taking a wait-and-see attitude but has some concerns. He questions what will happen to people who lack the command of English to avoid arrest during a traffic stop.

    Jane Oakes wonders if the new techniques will produce a chilling effect on reporting crimes.

    Oakes works with victims of domestic violence as an immigration attorney for Pisgah Legal Services. She hopes women won’t let a lack of citizenship stop them from reporting abuse.

    Educating the public not to see it that way will be one component of the program, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Joe Johnson said.

    Patrol officers won’t be able to check legal status, as some can in Alabama, where state troopers have undergone the training. Only detention officers will be authorized to use the database, Johnson said.

    But anyone booked at the jail — whether for a violent crime, driving without a license or any one of a number of charges that can be filed by the public — potentially could come under scrutiny.

    Davis began researching the initiative before voters elected him in November.

    An immigration agent is scheduled to arrive in Henderson County on Friday morning to meet with officials and iron out the next steps.

    County commissioners would have to give approval and the money to hire four new jailers, Johnson said.

    Twice that many or more would train under ICE agents on the fine points of immigration law, use of the new equipment and avoiding racial profiling.

    The county is one of about 30 agencies nationwide negotiating with ICE.

    In a trip to Charlotte, local authorities checked out the program as it’s run there, hoping to use it as a model.

    Everyone booked in Mecklenburg County is asked two questions, Pendergraph said: Are you a U.S. citizen? Were you born in the United States?

    Those who answer no to either question, or whose inability to speak English or other signs raise suspicions, are fingerprinted on the ICE equipment. Some 20 people go through the check daily, Pendergraph said.

    Before deportation, their cases move through the local court system, and those who are convicted serve their sentences.

    Two or three times a week, a bus takes a group of the more serious offenders from Charlotte to Atlanta for a deportation hearing.

    Those who commit minor crimes, however, are given notice to appear in an Atlanta courtroom and sent on their way.

    That’s “a terrible way to deal with this,” Pendergraph said, “but they don’t have the resources to detain everyone.”

    Charlotte could have an immigration court within months, the sheriff said. He hopes an immigration detention center will follow.

    Davis said his deputies would drive accused illegal immigrants to the planned court in Charlotte for hearings.

    Other agencies may bring their suspects to Henderson County as it becomes a hub of WNC’s immigration enforcement, although such a regional approach would present obstacles. Johnson said processing the inmates in the time required by law would be difficult.

    Instead, the program could be a model for the region. Spokesman Randy Sorrells said the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department intends to eventually follow its neighbor in training jailers as immigration agents.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Texas - Occupied State - The Front Line

    Henderson to weigh cost and benefits of illegal immigration ... 0770102092

    Henderson to weigh cost and benefits of illegal immigration
    By Melissa Stout
    published: January 4, 2007 12:15 am
    Contact Melissa Stout at 828-232-5967, via e-mail at

    HENDERSONVILLE — Like many immigrants, Pablo Nava moved to Henderson County for a better life.

    Nava and his wife, Christina Dirzo, have worked hard to achieve that dream and know firsthand the trials and tribulations of relocating to a foreign country.

    “They should give immigrants who come here to work and not do anything bad, they should give them the opportunity to come here and get a better life,” Nava said through his daughter, Daisy Nava, 14, who was interpreting for him.

    Over the years, thousands of individuals and families have made a journey to Henderson County with similar goals. Like Nava, many of the newcomers are Hispanic.

    The 2000 Census put the number of Hispanics in Henderson County at 4,882, or 5.4 percent out of less than 90,000 people living in the county. In 2004, the census put the number of Hispanics at 7,194, or 7.4 percent of 97,217 county residents.

    A challenge faced by local and national organizations is who is legal and who isn’t. About 12 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States.

    Some residents believe illegal immigration is a problem that isn’t being addressed, according to Henderson County Commission Chairman Bill Moyer.

    They say, illegal immigration is “taxing schools, health care … It’s putting a burden on taxpayers. This is what other people are saying. People say there is a problem and commissioners need to address it,” Moyer said.

    To help county leaders develop ordinances to deal with the issue, the county is putting together a Blue Ribbon Committee on Illegal Immigration. The committee will be made up of citizens, social service and government organizations, Hispanic advocates and immigrant workers.“In a way (the committee) is needed, as long as they can include key people in the solution and steps,” said Sarah Nuñez, president of the board of directors for the Latino Advocacy Coalition in Henderson County. The committee needs to “get that person that’s really living the life of an immigrant. If their voices aren’t heard, then (the committee) won’t be getting the voices of the community.”

    Link to Blue Ribbon Committee Information

    Moyer said the county’s goal is to have a balanced committee; otherwise it won’t have public confidence.

    Purpose and need

    The committee, which could be made up of a 11 members, is expected to have its work completed and recommendations to commissioners in six months, Moyer said.

    Moyer said he thinks the county needs to tackle this because residents have expressed a concern and the federal government isn’t doing anything about it.

    Charlie Messer, county commissioner, said after the committee presents its recommendations to the commissioners, it will be up to commissioners whether to act on the recommendations.

    Immigration “definitely has a big impact on schools, law enforcement, DSS and everything else,” he said.

    Marvin Owings, agriculture extension agent with Henderson County, agrees that discussion is good.

    “I think it would be a good idea to have discussion on the illegal situation in the county,” he said. “The Latino labor is critical to Henderson County agriculture whether they’re illegal or legal. Agriculture could not exist as we know it today without migrant labor.”

    Work is what brings immigrants like Pablo Nava and his wife, Christina Dirzo, to America. Fourteen years ago, they moved from Mexico to Chicago “for the work. To give us a better life,” Pablo Nava said. “In Mexico there’s not that many jobs, and you don’t get paid that much.”

    About eight years ago, the family moved to Hendersonville. Dirzo got a job as a housekeeper at Pardee Hospital. She worked there until about six months ago when she opened up Daisy’s Supermarket Tienda Latina on U.S. 25 in Hendersonville.

    “We wanted to try a new experience, so we opened the store to see if we could get more money out of this,” Pablo Nava said.

    So far he said their venture has proved successful.

    Local impact

    In 1998, non-English speaking patients at the Henderson County Department of Public Health constituted about two to three percent of the total caseload, according to a memo by Tom Bridges, director of the Henderson County Department of Public Health.

    In 2006, non-English speaking patients totaled about 35 percent of the total caseload.

    “Our cost has gone up with the need for interpreters,” Bridges said. “We’re required by federal law to provide this free of charge.”

    At least 27 percent of patients at the health department require a translator, most of whom don’t have insurance or Medicaid.

    Forty-six percent of patients at the health department don’t have health insurance and 36 percent are on Medicaid.

    The health department doesn’t pick and choose who it will serve, Bridges said. It’s main objective is to provide a service and keep people’s trust in order to effectively deal with communicative disease such as rubella, tuberculosis and influenza.

    “I hope it won’t put more restrictions so it makes it harder to deal with communicative disease,” he said. “Federal, state and local (governments) need to come together and decide what specific roles each will have in dealing with it.”

    Mike Williams, executive director of the Henderson County Red Cross, said it’s hard to ignore that the Hispanic population continues to grow in Henderson County.

    “There’s a lot of reluctance with people from that community to request help or receive help because they don’t understand or they think something’s going to happen to them or they’ll get in trouble,” Williams said. “We need to be communicating with folks from the Hispanic community and find out what their needs are and how to address them.”

    Williams said the role of the American Red Cross is humanitarian, and the agency is there to help anyone in a time of disaster or emergency. It’s not their job to ask whether people are legal or illegal, he said.

    Williams’ main fear is the committee will be so broad that nothing is accomplished in the county.

    Moyer said there are a number of places in the country that have looked at illegal immigration and adopted ordinances. The committee will look at what has been done other places, what is unique about North Carolina law, what can and cannot be done and what would be appropriate to do, he said.

    Williams said he thinks there needs to be outreach to the immigrant community, but it needs to be coupled with enforcement.

    “If people aren’t legal, there needs to be coordination,” he said. Resources are already stretched within the organization to help people that are here legitimately.

    Enforcement options
    Henderson County Sheriff Rick Davis said the county estimates 25 percent of people in the Henderson County detention center are illegal.

    But there’s no way to determine who is legal and who isn’t without county deputies going through training. This training, which came about from an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1996, would certify county deputies as immigration officers, allowing them to deport illegal immigrants.

    “We would only be able to enforce this once someone is charged with a crime,” he said. “In law enforcement, where we are feeling the financial strain is in the detention center.”

    Davis estimates the detention center is spending between $500,000 and $700,000 a year on illegal immigrants.

    The training would allow for reimbursements from the federal government, and the county would break even on the cost.

    “This is a post 9-11 world. This raises very legitimate security concerns. There are people from all over the world, not just Central America — that are here in Henderson County,” Davis said. “We don’t know what security issues are at stake.”

    Jane Oakes, immigration attorney with Pisgah Legal Services, said the committee’s recommendations could benefit the community, but a anti-immigration slant could be detrimental.

    This depends greatly on whether the county uses local law enforcement to enforce immigration.

    “But then no one will come to law enforcement for help,” Oakes said. “If the committee is balanced maybe they can meet on middle ground.”

    Joe Johnson, public information officer with the sheriff’s office, said victims of crime that seek help from the county will not have to worry about being deported and the county will do everything it can to let people know there’s no reason to be afraid. The department could help them work through the process to become legal, he said. The deportation program would mainly be used when someone is in jail.

    Outside of duty

    If people are here illegally, it makes sense that they would have children enrolled in the school system, Henderson County School superintendent Stephen Page said.

    Page and Owings say it’s not up to the schools, agriculture community and other organizations to ask who is legal and illegal.

    “We have to have the labor, and as far as whether the labor is legal or illegal, this is not anything that should be put on the backs of the growers to police,” Owings said. “They’re not in the business of law enforcement.”

    Owings said illegal immigration needs to be worked out through federal, state and local governments to allow migrant workers to have visas so they can work here legally.

    “The majority of the illegal aliens or workers are primarily interested in work and not so much in becoming American citizens. They’re looking for work and work most Americans are not interested in,” he said. “They’re providing a very valuable service, not only to agriculture, but also to the American consumer. We need to have in place some type of legal work visa for this group of potential employees.”

    Owings said the committee has the potential of helping the situation, and once the consumer is educated to the situation, then pressure can be brought to the elected officials to try to improve the visa situation so farmers can get workers here legally.

    Charlene Lively, an apple and vegetable farmer, with her husband, Marvin Lively, defends the Hispanic workers and their contribution to the community.

    “The federal government was seven years behind on getting people visas,” Lively said. “I do feel there needs to be some sort of method.”

    She agrees with Owings that that the committee could possibly have a positive effect on the county.

    “The potential is there whether or not they do it still waits to be seen,” Lively said.

    Change is in the air

    Messer said illegal immigration is not just a local problem.

    “I don’t really know what we could do at the county level because our hands our tied,” he said. “It definitely has an impact on schools, hospitals, agriculture.”

    Nuñez agrees that federal action has to be taken.

    “What needs to happen is there needs to be federal immigration reform, so doing anything on the county level won’t help,” Nuñez said.

    Nuñez and Bridges recommend county commissioners take a trip to Mexico or another Latin American country so they can learn why people are so driven to come here for a better life.

    Oakes said she doesn’t even begin to have a solution for Henderson County, but said it’s a federal problem and the federal government needs to make changes to laws.

    Owings said a reason some immigrants may come here illegally is because of the huge bureaucracy and red tape involved in trying to get guest worker programs in place.

    President Bush, Democratic leaders in the new Congress and a broad coalition of Latino civil rights groups, churches, labor unions and business organizations all support reform that would make it easier for workers to come here legally and would allow most undocumented immigrants already here to get legal status.

    House Republican leaders were the main obstacle to passing immigration laws this year, refusing to negotiate with the Senate over the dramatically different bills the chambers passed. Instead, the House focused on beefing up border security without changing the underlying immigration system.

    Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he’ll introduce legislation similar to the bipartisan bill the Senate passed in May as one of his top 10 priorities for the new Congress. That bill included a plan to offer millions of illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.

    Border security, agriculture impact

    With the Bush administration already ratcheting up border security and enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants — the two biggest busts of undocumented workers in U.S. history occurred this year — some observers say border hardliners could win by default if Congress doesn’t pass new laws soon.

    The crackdowns are slowing the arrival of immigrants, even though conservative critics say the administration isn’t doing enough. Already, agriculture groups are complaining that security measures are contributing to a labor shortage.

    Lively normally has eight or nine workers on their farm, but last year they only had five because of all the problems and controversy over immigration law.

    The issue of immigration is something she thinks has affected a lot of farmers.

    “The farmer is probably the only professional person in U.S. that hopes to produce a product in year’s time and has no control over what we’re paid for our product,” she said. “We’re strictly supply and demand. We put our products out on the market and six weeks later we hope to get a check for them. We can’t afford to pay $10, $15 and $20 an hour.”

    “There are no Americans that are going to do the amount of work they’re going to do for the wages a farmer is able to pay,” Lively said.

    Owings said limiting the workers that are available will drive up the prices of all the commodities, especially fruits and vegetables which require hand labor.

    “It’s very labor intensive. The alternative is if we don’t have the labor here it’s going to be forced overseas where we have no control over the safety or price of our food,” he said. “It would be similar to the dependency on oil. If we force all the labor out of this country then we will be dependent on food and the price will definitely increase if we don’t have the stable labor here.”

    Pablo Nava fears laws addressing immigration will also affect families that came here for a better life.

    “Children get separated from their parents,” he said. “It’s not good for families.”

    Davis said he doesn’t see the committee having the potential to be negative at all.

    “This is a fact-finding mission,” he said.

    Contact Stout at 232-5967 or

    Mike Madden of Gannett News Service contributed to this report.
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  3. #3
    MW is offline
    Senior Member MW's Avatar
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    Nuñez and Bridges recommend county commissioners take a trip to Mexico or another Latin American country so they can learn why people are so driven to come here for a better life.
    Hmmm........another taxpayer funded boondoggle.

    IMHO, the reason why illegal immigrants come here has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. The fact is they're here illegally and there is no justification for it, nor is there any justification for local and federal law enforcement officials to ignore their presence.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  4. #4
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    “There’s a huge fear right now of being stopped in a regular traffic check,” Tapia said, “and people are asking themselves, should we leave the county and just go to some other place where there’s no such regulation?”
    Good, perhaps that is exactly what they will do.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Hellooooooo!!!!! If there here legally they have no need to fear the police. if their here illegally they need to go home, before they are caught and their familes are separated. This sounds like a self inflicked wound to me.
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  7. #7
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    65,430 ... 0770209027

    Ask the sheriff about immigration enforcement

    Alsy Acevedo
    February 9, 2007 9:05 am
    HENDERSONVILLE – Sheriff Rick Davis will lead a community meeting Saturday to discuss a program that allows local law enforcement personnel to be trained as immigration officers.

    Davis will talk about the 287(g) program and how it relates to the community as a whole. This will be an opportunity for the community to hear directly from Davis and ask him questions relating to the proposed use of the 287(g) program in Henderson County, which is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act and allows local law enforcement personnel, with a particular emphasis on detention officers, to be trained as immigration officers.

    The meeting sponsored by El Centro and the Latino Advocacy Coalition will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Kaplan Auditorium at the Main Branch of the Henderson County Public Library, 301 N. Washington St., Hendersonville.

    Comments are being left after the article too.
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  8. #8
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    The meeting sponsored by El Centro and the Latino Advocacy Coalition
    Just can't wait to read Sunday's coverage of this meeting.
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  9. #9
    Every one that I deport is one that’s less likely to kill me on the highway,” Mecklenburg Sheriff Jim Pendergraph said.
    That is SO true! Having family victimized by illegals causing accidents, this really hits home with me. GOOOO Sheriff JIM!

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