Local News

Feds to Help Sheriffs ID Illegal Immigrants

Posted October 16, 2007 3:53 p.m. EDT

— The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on Tuesday proposed a partnership with North Carolina to help identify and deport illegal immigrants charged with crimes in the state.

Nearly 20 North Carolina law enforcement agencies have requested a partnership with ICE under the 287(g) program, in which local officers are trained and certified to enforce immigration law. No other state has submitted as many requests, officials said.

“North Carolina sheriff’s offices have demonstrated an unprecedented interest in partnering with ICE,” Julie L. Myers, the assistant secretary for ICE in the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement. “By working together in a coordinated manner, we plan to develop a statewide alliance that is both effective and sustainable and will enhance public safety in the state.”

"Through this unique partnership with federal officials, North Carolina sheriffs can utilize the available tools to enforce our laws and help ensure that North Carolinians feel safe in their homes and communities,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who helped bring federal agents and North Carolina sheriffs together to discuss a partnership.

“We are pleased ICE has recognized the statewide interest to help remove criminal illegal aliens, and we look forward to working with the agency to craft a feasible plan benefiting all of our communities,” said Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell, who is president of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.