There was some confusion in the Joint Legislative Crime Control Oversight Committee on Thursday. The committee met to question the NC Sheriff’s Association about the $750,000 appropriated last year to administer the federal 287g program.
The 287g program establishes a working relationship with local sheriffs and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service that allows local jailers to screen their inmate populations for anyone not legally in the US. Once ICE is notified, the local jail is reimbursed for the cost of that inmate’s incarceration and turned over to ICE to be processed in the immigration system and possibly deported.
The program is proceeding at the following pace:
- 4 Counties are committed, Mecklenburg, Gaston, Alamance & Cabbarus
- By June, 65 sheriff’s personnel will be trained.
- Training consists of 4 weeks per officer.
- As of Feb 6th, 11% of jail inmates were foreign born. (1,931 persons)
- The establishment of Immigration court in NC is still under negotiation.
- 4,717 illegals have been turned over to ICE under 287g.
Rep. Alice Bordsen (D-Alamance) questioned the purpose of the federal Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). She made a statement about how DHS had been created in response to 9/11 and wondered how could it have changed to enforcing immigration. She then expressed concern for the families of illegals, "My larger point is that if we cannot work with those at the federal level that we are removing the bread winner from a family and we are now responsible for those children are we spending more money because of this program." Interestingly enough, Rep. Bordsen did not comment on the societal costs associated with these family bread winners. The costs to the state include many monetary expenses but they all pale in comparison to the human cost to North Carolina’s citizens. Maybe Rep. Bordsen can sit down with the family of Gaston County teacher Scott Gardner and listen to their costs. Or maybe her own Sheriff, Terry Johnson of Alamance County can ‘splain it to her.
Bordsen and Sen. Daniel Clodfelter (D-Mecklenburg) were concerned about what happened to the illegals turned over to the ICE. Once ICE takes custody of an illegal, they are sole responsible for his or her fate and typically don’t notify the state of the disposition of an illegal’s case.
Not fear though, the illegal lobby was present and accounted for. The American (sic) Civil (sic) Liberties (sic) Union made an impassioned attack on the 287g program by questioning the funding, openness, racial profiling and even the role of the federal government. The most amusing point was made when the ACLU lobbyist expressed worry of the danger of companies going out of business due to illegals leaving a county in Virginia. When I think of the defenders of the free market and capitalism, the ACLU is always at the top of the list. Way to go ACLU! Stand up for ‘bidness!