Thursday, June 12, 2008

287(g) now operational (The Daily Citizen)

287(g) now operational

By Kim Sloan

Published: June 11, 2008 12:12 am

After a three month wait, the 287(g) program is now up and running at the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.

A woman charged for failure to appear on a charge of driving with a suspended license was found to be an illegal alien after she was processed through the system, Sheriff Scott Chitwood said on Tuesday. The woman was not identified by the sheriff’s office. She will be turned over to officials with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A representative from ICE was at the sheriff’s office Tuesday afternoon completing the installation of the equipment needed for the program. The program, known as 287(g) for the section where it is found in federal law, will not cost the county any money and is funded entirely by the federal government, Chitwood said.

“We have been on their time schedule,” Chitwood said of the delay in implementing the program. “It’s been three months since the training was completed and we now have it installed.”

The sheriff’s office now has access to a database that will let officials know if a person has been caught illegally crossing the border, been deported before or does not have legal status in the United States. Six deputies trained in Gainesville in February on how to use the equipment and the database.

Under the program, when a suspect is booked into the jail, his or her information such as name, date of birth and Social Security number are run through the database. If ICE information indicates the suspect is in the country illegally, the suspect will be booked into the ICE system and a hold will be placed.

“When (the inmate) is finished with state or county time, there is already a detainer in place,” said Capt. Rick Swiney with the sheriff’s office. “That way you don’t put them out on the street. This will take a little more time but we think it is well worth it.”

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