Immigration Enforcement

287(g) is showing great success in Alamance, North Carolina

Illegal Immigrants who break the law are fearful of deportation.

Though recent estimates suggest that the Hispanic population in the United States continues to rise, new immigration enforcement measures have many in Alamance County looking for a new home.

According to U.S. Census estimates released earlier this month, there were 15,823 Hispanics living in the county in 2007, 612 more than in 2006. Statewide, the Hispanic population went from 593,896 in 2006 to 638,444 in 2007.

However, in Alamance County, and one and a half years since the 287(g) program gave local deputies the authority to enforce immigration laws, many Hispanics who don’t have the proper documentation to be in the country legally are leaving.

Commissioner Sutton states it best.

In Alamance County, the sheriff’s department’s ICE unit has placed a total of 768 illegal aliens in removal proceedings from Feb. 19, 2007, when the 287(g) program was started, until Aug. 28.

From Oct. 1, 2007 to Aug. 4, the ICE field office in Atlanta, which oversees operations in Georgia, South and North Carolina, has deported 13,986 people. During the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 10,971 people were deported. The prior year, less than half, or 5,183 people, were deported through that field office.

ALAMANCE COUNTY Commissioner Tim Sutton, a staunch supporter of the 287(g) program and opponent of illegal immigration, sees the deterrent effect the implementation of the program is having as a bonus.

“I honestly believe that when we signed the agreement … I don’t think we realized the magnitude of what was going on, especially in the driving offenses,” he said.

But, he said, “If every illegal alien in our county leaves as a result of tough enforcement, I have no problem with that.” He added, “If they are leaving because they are scared of being here illegally, so be it. I don’t have a single reservation about what we are doing.”

He said it’s “ludicrous” for people to think that police should not arrest drivers who don’t have an identification, proper license or car insurance. “What do you expect us to do? … Write a ticket and expect them to go to court?”

He continued, “A statistic that we don’t know and can’t put our hands on is the statistic of what (wrongdoings) we’ve prevented” with these arrests.

Sutton also said the argument that certain sections of the economy, such as the housing market, would collapse or suffer because of the exodus is not valid. He said the rental market cannot be financed by illegal immigration.

If anything, he said, now that the demand for homes is decreasing, “Maybe citizens in our community can rent them at a more reasonable price.”

Sutton said that as long as the federal government allows the program to continue and the county has a sheriff and a board of commissioners that supports it, “We are going to keep doing it.”

“I don’t want us to get soft on this at all,” he said, and added, “We did not put these people in this predicament. They did.”

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September 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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