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Immigration program could be cut from Wake sheriff's budget

Posted February 2, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— A program that lets deputies find out the immigration status of inmates in the Wake County jail may be in jeopardy as the Wake County Sheriff's Office looks at ways to trim next year's budget.

Economy could force cuts to immigration program Economy could force cuts to immigration program

Wake County Manager David Cooke has asked all county departments to cut their budgets by 4 percent and to begin looking at ways to reduce next year's budget by 10 percent if further cuts are needed.

In July, 12 county detention officers began participating in the federal 287-G program, which costs about $500,000 a year to run and trained them in how to use federal data to determine the immigration status of people charged with crimes and to begin the deportation process for those found to be in the U.S. illegally.

More than 1,000 people have been identified through the program, which Sheriff Donnie Harrison calls successful.

"Yes, that will be one of the areas we will look at," Harrison said. "Will we eliminate it? We don't know yet."

Right now, when inmates are processed into the Wake County jail, they automatically have their immigration status checked using fingerprints. If funding for 287-G is cut, only people charged with the most serious crimes will have their status checked.

Tony Asion, with the Hispanic advocacy group El Pueblo, wants to see the program scrapped. He believes the federal government should handle immigration issues.

"It is costing the state and local communities an awful lot of money they shouldn't have to be paying for," he said.

But Harrison said that without the program, citizens will be the ones who pay with a loss of public safety.

"There's a lot of people going to fall through the cracks," he said.

155 Comments

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  • worldmap955 Feb 4, 2009

    I think criminal offenders should be deported - the ones who have committed domestic violence and those that have a DUI. Personally, I prefer that my tax dollars be spent to help sick children and feed them even if their parents didn't arrive here legally, instead of giving $20 billion in bonuses to Wall Street Bankers. Your anger needs to be directed at the rich people, not our poor friends and neighbors.

  • jointheir Feb 4, 2009

    Well it would appear that you folks have taken what I said out of context. For those who do not understand what context is, you must first review the previous statement to learn where my one statement is coming from to properly understand. But either way does not matter, because the president you all voted in is for amnesty and open borders, the I love all people mentality... And he is going to do what he wants anyway.

  • mgratk Feb 3, 2009

    It seems to me that getting illegals out of our jails and back to their own countries is a money saver in the long run, not an expenditure at all. One inmate who was deported because of this program had been in jail 60 times! Finally he's out of the country. Imagine the costs just associated with those 60 arrests and all the time the guy has spent in jail. That's big bucks. An additional 1100 others were shipped out just since July. These are people who were arrested for other stuff, residence status unknown UNTIL the research was done. This program just makes sense.
    I can't believe any law abiding citizen of any race or nationality wants to keep these criminals here.

  • American56 Feb 3, 2009

    If Assion were in the Burn Center, we would probably have to pay all medical expenses. Mr. Leffler's employer I'm sure will have to cover his medical bills, since the driver was unliscensed. Maybe we could be lucky enough that whoever the owner of the vehicle he was driving will be held responsible. Maybe ignc73 and all those in favor can pay for it. The politics of hate and fear are not on the way out.

  • ccs1920 Feb 3, 2009

    For over two years I have refused to spend one penny at any business in which I could not understand what the employee was saying or asking. I know others that say they do the same.

  • imback Feb 3, 2009

    "The politics of hate and fear are on the way out. Sorry, guys."

    Apparently your lame posts are still in however.

  • ignc73 Feb 3, 2009

    The politics of hate and fear are on the way out. Sorry, guys.

  • HRL Feb 3, 2009

    If you are crying foul then self access how you voted last. Who will stand up for what is right? Government is of the people...and that means we vote em and we can vote em out. Remember folks, who is or against this program, and when it comes time to re- elect, if they voted to pull the plus, lets vote them out and get good folks in place.

  • news4u Feb 3, 2009

    Wonder what the song and dance would be if it was Assion in the UNC Burn Center instead of poor Mr. Leffler?

  • news4u Feb 3, 2009

    Can anyone tell me why El Pueblo is in the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Building on Blount Street in Raleigh?

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