Feds suspend immigration program in Lexington County in wake of Metts indictments

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Federal officials have "indefinitely suspended" a program in Lexington County designed to help local officials deal with inmates who are suspected to be foreign-born criminals.

The U.S. office Immigrations and Customs Enforcement says in the wake of the federal indictments against suspended Sheriff James Metts, Lexington County deputies will no longer be handling undocumented immigrants under the 287G program.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the 287G program allows state and local officials partner up with ICE to receive authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdiction.

Homeland Security officials say ICE will be dealing with some immigration cases within the county now as opposed to letting the Lexington County Sheriff's Department handle them.

As for Sheriff Metts, a federal indictment issued weeks ago said he received bribes from Columbia businessman Greg Leon for Metts to give preferential treatment to at least four people who would have been flagged by the ICE system.

A federal court judge issued a $100,000 bond for Metts on July 1. Leon's bond was set at $50,000 by a Richland County judge.

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