CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has repeatedly stated they won’t work jointly with ICE on anything related to immigration, but what about the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office?
It turns out, MCSO has had a relationship with ICE for over a decade and their policies on immigration are drastically different than CMPD’s.
MCSO tells FOX 46 Charlotte they’ve had a partnership with ICE since 2006 through something that’s known as the 287 G Program. Essentially, it gives MCSO the ability to identify criminal illegal immigrants in their custody once they’ve been booked into jail.
They do this by having deputies ask arrestees two questions; what country are you a citizen of and where were you born? If the deputy determines the suspect is an illegal immigrant MSCO said it’s there responsibility to place the arrestee in removal proceedings.
If an arrestee at the Mecklenburg County Jail is placed in removal proceedings, the sheriff’s office will allow ICE to place what’s called ‘a detainer’ on the suspect. That means MCSO will hold the suspect for up to 48 hours past their jail released date, if they have one.
That gives ICE agents extra time to decide whether or not to come pick the person up and bring them into federal custody for removal from the country. Not all sheriffs’ offices do what Mecklenburg County does.
Earlier this month in Arizona, newly elected Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone reversed their policy on detainers and began releasing illegal immigrants from their custody.
“ICE will have to take a more aggressive position on how they’re going to act on those who are in violation of federal law as we continue to enforce state law.”
In response, ICE said Sheriff Penzone’s new policy would without a doubt release violent criminal aliens into the streets to terrorize their communities. Just days after that, Sheriff Penzone changed his mind and went back to allowing ICE detainers on suspect illegal immigrants, which is what the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has been doing through the 287 G Program since 2006.
In a statement ICE said:
“Removing criminal aliens from our communities produces a higher level of public safety for everyone. The 287 G Program allows local law enforcement agencies to participate as an active partner in identifying criminal aliens in their custody, and place ICE detainers on these individuals. To strengthen the 287 G program, ICE has begun examining local operational needs and liaising with potential partners, and will collaborate with customs and border protection in these efforts.”
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office wanted to make three things very clear. They cannot hold an ICE inmate for more than 72 hours. At no time will their deputies make a decision as to whether or not someone will be deported. All they do is begin the legal proceedings and hold them for ICE.
This program only applies to suspects who have been arrested and booked into jail. Nobody will encounter a 287 G Program deputy out on the streets of Charlotte.