Henderson County Commissioners Equivocate on Support for 287g

 

The Henderson County Commissioners Meeting on Wednesday March 20, 2019 regarding the 287g program partnership with ICE

After the March 20th Commissioner meeting, I received phone calls from folks who attended wanting to know what actually happened because they were totally confused by the comments by the commissioners.  Do they or don't they support 287g?!  Good question.  It was hard to tell.  

(Commissioner Charlie Messer) " asked during discussion whether Griffin felt that $250,000 would be enough to cover any costs for the program in the coming budget year. Griffin said it would, and commissioners said they would support Griffin if he chose to renew the agreement. ...  Commissioners took no formal action at the meeting, ...  They said they put their trust in him to make the right decision. ..." https://www.blueridgenow.com/news/20190320/commissioners-defer-to-sheriff-griffin-on-whether-to-keep-287g-in-henderson-county

Several of us spoke to continue support for  the program.  Sheriff Griffin also reported.

Griffin maintains that 287g is a burden on taxpayers.  " ... Griffin went on to discuss the burden on officers trained to identify and place a hold on an undocumented immigrant, saying the process can take between two and 12 hours. Many times, Griffin said, the act can be redundant as ICE officials will later transmit a detainer for the same individual...."

We contend that it's the best use of our tax money.  He claims no illegal alien criminals will be released from our jails even without 287g.  Based on the info from  ICE and our conversation with the Southern ICE Director, we disagree with his assessment. 

The sheriff also made the claim that there was misinformation being circulated about the 287g program.  He could not be more wrong.  We collected more than 7 pages of signatures urging the Commissioners to urge the sheriff to continue the 287g program  that he was given on Friday, 3/15 at a meeting with Commissioners Grady and Lapsley along with the 287g Fact Sheet

The circulation of the 287g Fact Sheet information  is directly from the Southern ICE Director.  No misinformation here. 

I also submitted a response to  the Times News and Lightning articles regarding Griffin's accusation of spreading misinformation and the lack of commitment from the commissioners.  

Sheriff Griffin is incorrect when he says there has been misinformation circulated about 287g.  The information publicly put out is directly from ICE and our Southern ICE Director.  There were more than seven signature pages of residents urging the Commissioners to convince the sheriff to maintain 287g for the sake of safety of Henderson county residents.  While we all appreciate the commissioners inviting the sheriff to the March 20th meeting, we were frankly dismayed at the lack of commitment one way or the other for maintaining the program.   The best thing to happen now is for the ICE director to come to a commissioner meeting and publicly state the consequences of terminating the program.  Perhaps hearing the consequences of termination directly from ICE may persuade our commissioners to come off the fence sitting. 

 Media coverage from the 3/20/19 Commissioner meeting:  

Henderson County sheriff says ICE contract is a burden on jail and taxpayers

https://wlos.com/news/local/henderson-county-sheriff-says-ice-contract-is-a-burden-on-jail-and-taxpayers

 County commits to funding 287g program  (not really!)

https://www.hendersonvillelightning.com/news/7723-commission-commits-to-finding-money-for-287g-program.html

Commissioners defer to Sheriff Griffin on whether to keep 287(g) in Henderson County  https://www.blueridgenow.com/news/20190320/commissioners-defer-to-sheriff-griffin-on-whether-to-keep-287g-in-henderson-county

As of 3/22/2019:  I have requested that Bryan Cox, Southern ICE Director or another just as qualified, contact the county manager to arrange his attendance at the April 17th Henderson County Commissioner meeting.  I will keep you posted on the outcome.  The public needs to hear directly from ICE the consequences  of termination of 287g  and so does the Sheriff.  

Thanks for all you are doing in writing letters to the editor, contacting your commissioners,  and attending meetings.  Please continue to do so.  Your voice is vital. This is a heavy lift. 

Please contact  your commissioners and make sure they know where you stand on maintaining 287g program and the partnership with ICE. 

 

Only a chorus of voices, yours included, will make the difference. 

ICE is doing a stellar job of trying to keep us safe in the face of fierce media opposition and lack of Congressional leadership. We have a porous southern border and a crisis there because of lack of Congressional leadership.  We need to step up in our counties to assure we have put every safe guard in place to protect US citizens.  

Remember:  All that evil  needs to take hold is for good men - and women - to do nothing! 

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