Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Foreign born in our jails... So, I spent most of my morning at a legislative committee meeting focusing on criminal justice issues. I was there to get an update on the 287g program. It essentially trains sheriff's deputies to get involved in apprehending illegal immigrants who commit crimes. Tucked in the back of the paperwork was an interesting survey. You may remember Senate Bill 229. It requires jail personnel, as of Jan. 1, to attempt to determine if someone charged with a felony or impaired driving offense is a legal resident of the United States. The Sheriff's Association and ICE wrapped up a survey on February 14th. The survey of North Carolina jails found that a statewide average of 11% of inmates were foreign born. The numbers ranged from 0% in some counties to 26% in one county. The average in metropolitan counties was about 20%. Now keep in mind these inmates are foreign born not necessarily illegal immigrants. However, when Sheriff Association Executive Vice President Eddie Caldwell was asked about that, he said it's reasonable to believe a large number of the inmates are in this country illegally.

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