Gaston County, North Carolina is sending 10 deputies through the Department of Homeland Security's 287(g) program which allows them to screen inmates in county jails for their immigration status. Since its inception in neighboring Mecklenburg County earlier this year they have found 1,000 inmates that were illegal aliens.
Recently Orange County, California graduated 14 deputies to screen their jails. Prior to this there was only one federal immigration agent for the whole county and out of 60,000 inmates in 2005 he was only able to screen 3,000 of them. Of those 3,000, 75% of them were found to be illegal aliens.
In Los Angeles County, California they have averaged finding 543 illegal aliens per month since sending deputies through the program.
The partnership will provide the sheriff’s department with funding, training, and access to federal databases.
“It also keeps Gaston County from becoming a safe haven for people who have come to this country illegally,” said Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger.
Because only those charged with a crime, and processed at the jail, are screened under the program, some critics argue that the program unfairly targets the Hispanic community.
However federal officials argue that the program insures that all U.S. citizens, regardless of ethnicity, are treated fairly.
Good job Gaston County!