Chair: Grady Hawkins: email@example.com
Dear Henderson County Commissioners:
Thank you for hosting the ICE agent at the Wednesday, April 17th Commissioners Meeting. It is vital that the citizens of Henderson County are given the opportunity to hear what the 287g program does and the ramifications of its termination. Safety in our county is paramount.
To terminate a program that has done us well for almost 10 years makes little sense, since we are now faced with a porous southern border, a humanitarian crisis, and other North Carolina sheriffs openly defying federal law.
We realize that this decision is solely in the hands of the sheriff who can terminate 287g at any time. However, the Commissioners hold great sway and influence and pay the bills at the sheriff’s department. While many of us appreciate the Commissioners offering the sheriff funds, it should be to maintain the program.
Please consider the sheriff’s claims and the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) renewed in 2016 and due to be renewed June 30, 2019.
On Wednesday, March 20th, the Henderson County Sheriff, Lowell Griffin was given the opportunity to present information to you regarding the 287g program at the Henderson County Board of Commissioners meeting. The 287g program partners with Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). The Sheriff has been flirting with terminating the program through the election and since taking the reins at the sheriff’s department. This is of great concern to many of us.
During the presentation, Sheriff Griffin maintained that the 287g program is a burden on the jail as well as the Henderson County taxpayers. He also claimed that the community would be as safe without the 287g program partnership with ICE as with it because the Sheriff’s department has an on-going close working relationship with the ICE office presently located in Hendersonville. However according to research on the current contract between Henderson County and ICE, the Memorandum of Agreement, these claims appear to be incorrect. Therefore, the following questions must be answered.
Question- claim 1:
How could the 287g program be a burden to the “jail and taxpayers” when ICE reimburses the county for incarcerated illegal aliens arrested under 287g? Therefore, without the 287g program incarcerated illegals would cost the county more money since there would be NO reimbursement.
Section V. Optional Inter-Governmental Service Agreements in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for 287g:
ICE and the LEA INITIALS (Henderson County) may enter into an Inter-Governmental Service Agreement (IGSA) pursuant to which the LEA INITIALS Henderson County) will continue to detain, for a reimbursable fee, aliens for immigration purposes, if ICE so requests, following completion of the alien’s criminal incarceration…”
Question- claim 2: It is correct that the salaries of the officers engaged in 287g activities are paid by Henderson County (these are regular employees, trained by ICE who are also responsible for 287g duties). However, ICE pays for the equipment used in the program. According to the agreement, if the program is terminated by the sheriff, the equipment must be returned to ICE and the local sheriff’s department will no longer have access to equipment or access codes which are vital to the identification of illegal immigrant criminals. Only deputies certified by ICE may use this equipment. Therefore, how will this county be safer without the use of this equipment? If it is replaced, how much additional money would that cost the taxpayers of Henderson County?
Section IX: Costs and Expenditures in the MOA: Optional Inter-Governmental Service Agreements in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for 287g:
Subject to the availability of funds, ICE will be responsible for the purchase, installation, and maintenance of technology (computer/Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification 5 System/Photo and similar hardware/software) necessary to support the immigration enforcement functions of participating LEA INITIALS personnel at each LEA INITIALS facility with an active 287(g) program.
Only participating LEA INITIALS personnel certified by ICE may use this equipment. ICE will also provide the necessary technological support and software updates for use by participating LEA INITIALS personnel to accomplish the delegated functions. Such hardware, software, and other technology purchased or provided by ICE shall remain the property of ICE and shall be returned to ICE upon termination of this agreement, or when deemed necessary by the ICE **FOD in ***ERO FOD OFFICE. The LEA INITIALS is responsible for covering all expenses at the LEA INITIALS facility regarding cabling and power upgrades. ..."
Question- claim 3:
Sheriff Griffin stated during his presentation that if he chooses to terminate the agreement, Henderson County could always return to the program, if necessary. How much would it cost to the Henderson County taxpayers to return to the 287g program?
Section XX. DURATION AND TERMINATION OF THIS MOA Optional Inter-Governmental Service Agreements in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for 287g:
“….Upon a subsequent demonstration of need, all costs to reinstate access to such authorities and/or program services will be incurred by the LEA INITIALS (Henderson County).” END
Please also consider a Resolution in Support of 287g to encourage the sheriff to renew and maintain the program.
A group of us have also requested a meeting with the sheriff regarding our questions.
Thank you again for your time and service to our community. I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.
218 Vincent Place
Hendersonville, NC 28739
Home: 828 692 3117
Cell: 209 986 3845
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