The Green Bay Press Gazette reports:
“BELLEVUE — Arming deputies with federal immigration enforcement powers would not reduce crime, cut the jail population or have any impact on reducing local illegal immigration populations, a top Brown County officer says.
Chief Deputy Todd Delain of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office spoke Wednesday before the Public Safety Committee in response to Supervisor Guy Zima’s call for tougher local measures against illegal immigration.
Zima has asked that the sheriff’s office to participate in a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The partnership program, called 287(g), provides a four-week training program for sworn officers and grants them the authority to question and detain immigrants deemed deportable.
In Zima’s formal request for consideration, he cites ICE’s website description of 287(g), which gives trained deputies the authority to use ICE databases, question inmates about their immigration status and place them on detainers to allow time for ICE agents to pick them up for deportation.
While that may sound attractive to people wanting a crackdown on illegal immigration, it wouldn’t accomplish that, Delain says.
First of all, 287(g) is offered to sworn jailers and prison guards, not to deputies out on the streets, Delain said.
In the Brown County Jail, sworn officers already monitor inmates’ immigration status to a degree, for purposes of flagging them for ICE attention, Delain said. ICE agents see those flagged inmates and review the entire jail population every day to look for other illegal immigrants, Delain said.
The criteria for placing qualified inmates on detainer and for deporting them are all established by the federal government, so having local officials perform the review would do nothing to increase local control over who is detained and deported, Delain said.
Having the deputies perform that task for the federal agents at county expense would do nothing to make the process more efficient, he said.
ICE only pursues inmates of illegal status if they face higher level crimes, what ICE calls “crimes of moral turpitude,” a standard set by the federal government, Delain said. Trained county deputies would have no authority to change the federal qualifying standards, he said.
ICE doesn’t deport inmates meeting that standard until they’re convicted and serve out their prison sentences, so deportation most often is handled through the Department of Corrections, not the local jail, Delain said.
Out of more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, only 42 have opted to have their jailers trained under the program, Delain said.
On any given day, the Brown County Jail will have somewhere around 30 inmates who are illegal immigrants, Delain said. That’s out of a jail population of around 800. He estimated no more than about 15 are being held on federal detainers, which means if they’re to be released from jail, they’d be released into ICE custody.”
Just another example of why all the Administration’s hype about pressuring localities to enter into 287(g) agreements is just that, hype.