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State law limited in cracking down on illegal immigrants

Posted December 28, 2007
Updated November 12, 2008

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— A new state law designed to help North Carolina sheriffs identify illegal immigrants who pass through county jails will be effective only with federal cooperation, authorities said.

Under the law, which goes into effect next Tuesday, the names of suspected illegal immigrants charged with a felony or with drunken driving will be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he has sent suspect names to ICE in the past with no results.

"We're only notifying them and putting the ball in their court," Harrison said. "If that person makes bond, he's free to go. But at least ICE knows."

He estimated 10 to 15 percent of the more than 30,000 inmates who pass through the Wake County Jail each year are illegal immigrants.

"We've got to find out who these people are, and right now, we don't have that capability," he said.

Luciano Tellez, for example, was released from the jail two years ago after serving time for drunken driving. Despite his immigration status, he remained in the U.S. and was charged in March with two counts of involuntary manslaughter following a wreck in Angier that killed trucker Jerry "Duane" Braswell and his 9-year-old son, Jerry Jr.

Illegal immigration remains a federal jurisdiction issue, Harrison said, so the ultimate success of the law depends upon the actions taken by ICE agents.

A spokesman for ICE said he couldn't comment on the specifics of the state law. But he said the agency was committed to working with local law enforcement.

ICE plans to begin training deputies across North Carolina to enforce immigration law and use a federal database to check the fingerprints of jail inmates.

Wake County is hiring a dozen deputies to handle the program, which Harrison predicted would be more effective than the new state law.

"I hope this will be a start of finding out who we have in our jail that's wanted or maybe wanted somewhere else," he said.


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  • They call me CATMAN Dec 29, 2007

    tmedlin thanks for the info. I am already a member of numbersusa.com and have checked out the Data. I just want to wake the rest of those who don't know about this Problem of Illegal Aliens here in NC and the US in General.

  • tmedlin Dec 29, 2007

    srallen - you can get that data - politicians positions and voting records thru www.numbersusa.com
    And I agee, it's time to go to local meetings of both county and city/town govt. and speak up there!

  • They call me CATMAN Dec 29, 2007

    It's is clear that North Carolina politicians do not want to do anything about this problem and the US Government want's to do less then the State.This is why in November 2008 we need to know how the candidates in all Local, State and National elections stand on this issue. We can no longer sit on our hand's and do nothing about this problem.

  • wbearp Dec 29, 2007

    This law is useless! Short of mass murder, or a high profile case ICE does not want them. I know this for a fact. They never respond or follow-up. If I was a Sheriff, and I was about to release a person I knew for a fact to be illegal I would get a court order from a Judge stating that the person was to be held for pickup by Federal authorities. I would then take the inmate to the nearest US Gov't owned property (Post Office, Military Post, National Park etc), handcuff em to a tree or whatever, and call ICE for pickup. I would even leave a jailer with them to make sure they were safe and secure, but noone would touch the person except a Federal employee. The country has shown time and time again that they want action when it comes to illegal immigration. The people in leadership have failed America on this issue. It is time that not only the illegals are held accountable, but also Politicians, Judges, and Corporate America. Spanish made simple. Illegals va a casa = illegals go home!

  • hawkydave Dec 29, 2007

    Just think of the possibilities of getting some of these illegals out of here. The water shortage deficit would shrink. Gas supply would go up and prices would go down. Last time I checked , majority of these illegals drive the biggest dern trucks and suvs they can find. School overcrowding would ease. Just some small steps in the right direction. "Just think of the possibilities!" Of course wishful thinking! Easley are you listening? Or are you at practice for your next "crash a nascar publicity stunt".

  • slim1h2o Dec 29, 2007

    Exactly, Shine,,It has become quite obvious that this state looks out for anyone, and everyone that is not legal, or a citizen.

    Us citizens can just sit on it. As far this state is concerned.

  • districtcadvocate Dec 29, 2007

    I have read all the blather and just ask one question; are we going to let Wake County (including Raleigh) continue to be classified as a "Sanctuary" place for undocumented immigrants by those that are either being displaced by other localities or just entering the country? If the answer is NO then all you have to do is start going to the commission, council or other meetings that our elected officials conduct in doing the voters business and demand action. If YES then stop the blathering on this web site

  • tmedlin Dec 29, 2007

    The jobs have to be eliminated for them, for sure, but the other magnet is the benefits they are getting - so it's a Republican AND Democrat problem, and they are putting it to us. They just cut almost all the funding for the fence, that was voted into law and funded, but not built because of lawsuits by AFLCIO and ACLU. And no, Ron Paul won't fix the problem - he can't even get a decent number of co-sponsors for the bills he introduces, so no matter how great his rhetoric may sound, if you can't get the rest of Congess to join you, you accomplish nothing except feeding at the trough like the rest...Go to www.numbersusa.com and join - it's free, and gives you an easy way to voice your opinions to our "leaders" based on your address.

  • NoToIllegals Dec 29, 2007

    Here's an idea;

    "Taxation without representation" is now fully in effect.
    Time to take action.

    No more paying of taxes....keep it for yourselves since no one is looking out for the citizens.

    Darn if I am giving one red cent to illegals any longer.
    No money = no entitlements

  • Cable Dec 29, 2007

    Why cant we make our own state law?