Will SC sheriffs answer call to ICE undocumented immigrants?

Published: Jun. 5, 2017 at 9:03 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2017 at 4:50 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Trump administration is pushing local law enforcement to join the president's efforts against undocumented immigrants.

But it appears only a few of South Carolina's 46 sheriffs have active or pending plans to sign up.

Reports say the administration plans to expand 287(g), a federal program that deputizes state and local police to help enforce immigration laws. President Barack Obama had reduced funding for the program.

But since President Donald Trump took over, more sheriffs are now applying for 287(g) contracts with the government and immigration arrests and deportations are up sharply.

In South Carolina, just three counties have had 287(g) agreements with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement over the past few years.

York, Lexington, and Charleston counties have all taken part.

Lexington County's participation has been in a state of suspension, but LCSD spokesman Captain Adam Myrick says steps are being taken to reinstate the program.

Myrick says if that happens, the department will concentrate on screening and booking undocumented immigrants after they have been arrested. He says deputies working with ICE will not be "scouring the county" to locate undocumented subjects or asking to see their paperwork.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says his department could not afford to devote personnel to locating undocumented immigrants.

Foster says if a person is accused of a serious crime and held in jail, the department will notify ICE and allow the federal agency to determine the suspect's status.

As of March, more than 1800 state and local police officers had been certified to work with the federal program.

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