Immigration Enforcement

Wake County, North Carolina 287(g) program resounding success


In the last month, Wake County detention officers have interviewed hundreds of inmates and started deportation proceedings as part of a program called 287 (g).

Some call it controversial because many advocacy groups say it can be used to unfairly target Latinos.

Thirteen detention officers have been trained for the program and have limited immigration powers.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison said that his biggest frustration is that dozens, if not hundreds, of the inmates booked into his jail have fake identities.

Joining the 287 (g) program is a way Harrison can figure out exactly who is being booked into the Wake County Jail.

“If there is a discrepancy on your date of birth, or you’re being vague with us, or you just won’t answer us, and you can’t speak very good English, you’ll probably go up to 287(g),” Sheriff Harrison said.

He invited a group of reporters to the jail in an effort to deal with the controversy by shining some light on what his detention officers do.

During the tour, three men were being processed by the specially trained detention officers.

Their task is to figure out who the inmate is through fingerprints or record checks, and to decide if the person is illegally in the country.

“If they find something says you are here legal, whether it’s a workers pass or whatever it may be, then you’ll be sent right back down,” Sheriff Harrison said.

Since the program was started four weeks ago:

* 321 inmates have been brought before the 287-g team of detention officers.

* 301 people have been ordered to be held for possible deportation.

According to Sheriff Harrison all of them were charged with serious felonies including five suspected murderers.

Immigration agents insisted that this program is not aimed at deporting law abiding residents who may be undocumented.

“The 287 (g) program will not only benefit the county, but it does in fact benefit the public itself by removing and taking away illegal immigrants that have criminal convictions,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent David Rivera said.

Critics of the program have said it could encourage local police officers to unfairly target the Latino population.

But Sheriff Harrison says, based on the records they keep, he’ll be able to monitor if police officers engage in racial or ethnic profiling.

“We’re going to call that supervisor of that officer, it that happens, and say you might want to see what officer ‘John Doe’ is doing because the people he’s bringing to our jail is 95 percent one race or the other, I will do that,” Sheriff Harrison said.

August 21, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Quote:

    The Bail Reform Act of 1984 created a powerful detention provision that authorizes a state of local police officer to arrest any alien other than a legal permanent resident for a federal “offense,” and to request a local magistrate to temporarily detain the alien for up to ten days without bail while awaiting transfer into federal custody, so long as the alien is found to be a “flight risk” or danger to any other person or the community.”

    The authority to make arrest for federal offenses under 18 U.S.C. 3041 extends to state and local law enforcement officers. (U.S. v Bowdach, 561 F.2d 1160, 1168 (5th Cir. 1977) An illegal alien is an inherent flight risk.

    Supreme Court Ruling Razes Artificial Fire Wall Between Local Law Enforcement and Immigration Enforcement (Muehler v. Mena) 9-0 Landmark Decision (Washington D.C.—April 1, 2005) In its March 22 ruling in the case of Muehler v. Mena, the Supreme Court removed barriers that prevent local law enforcement officers from questioning the immigration status of individuals they suspect to be in the United States illegally. In this groundbreaking decision, the high Court rejected the claim of Ira Mena, a permanent resident of the U.S., that police had violated the Fourth Amendment while conducting a lawful search of her home.

    The Fourth Amendment provides protection by establishing that persons be shielded against unreasonable search and seizure. Mena argued that by questioning her, and the illegal alien detainees about their immigration status during a lawful search, officers violated her Fourth Amendment rights. Mena further claimed that questions asked about her citizenship required officers to have had independent reasonable suspicion regarding the unlawfulness of her immigration status.

    Calling a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “faulty,” the Supreme Court held that “mere police questioning [regarding one’s immigration status] does not constitute a seizure.” The Court continued its landmark ruling on this issue by stating that “the officers did not need reasonable suspicion to ask Mena for her name, date of birth, or immigration status.”

    “Whatever legal fig leaf many police departments have been using to justify policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities, has been stripped away by this landmark Supreme Court decision,”

    “If local police are barred from cooperating with federal authorities in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws it is purely a political decision on the part of local politicians and police chiefs. There is no legal barrier to local police inquiring about a person’s immigration status and then acting upon the information they gather.”

    Comment by Cricket23 | August 29, 2008

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