The following is from Bryan D. Cox, Southern ICE Director regarding the facts on the 287g program and its relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Per your request for information about the Henderson County 287g program I’ve attached the PowerPoint presentation(below) we presented in the spring during the county’s annual steering committee meeting. This presentation has a good amount of general information about the program. Please note, as this meeting was during the spring the stats contained within are from Fiscal Year 2017, not the more recent FY18 numbers I include below.
A few key points:
All the approved 287g jurisdictions are publicly listed online here: https://www.ice.gov/287g
In short, per your question, all persons encountered through 287g programs have a “criminal background” as the program exists only within the confines of detention centers to screen persons who’ve already been arrested and booked into jail on local criminal charges. No person is encountered via 287g unless they’ve already been criminally arrested by local law enforcement for a violation of North Carolina criminal law. The 287g program grants absolutely zero additional arrest authority and does not empower local law enforcement to arrest a person based upon their immigration status. It’s solely a screening tool that takes place pursuant to a criminal arrest already made.
Here are the stats: in FY18 the Henderson County 287g program encountered and screened 44 foreign nationals pursuant to their arrest in Henderson County. Of those 44 foreign nationals, 24 had prior criminal convictions before their most-recent arrest that resulted in their screening through the 287g program. The program screens all foreign nationals who come through the jail, and Henderson County screened persons of Cuban, European and Middle Eastern nationalities in addition to Mexico and Central America.
Per the U.S. Census Bureau, 7.5 percent of the residents of Henderson County are foreign born: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/hendersoncountynorthcarolina. You may want to ask local authorities for the total number of arrests made in Henderson County during FY18 and then compare those numbers. I suspect you’ll find claims of racial profiling simply are not supported by those stats.
The Henderson County 287g program remains in operation at present – I’m not going to speculate about what the county may or may not do in the future. That said, in general, should any county choose to withdraw from 287g it is important for persons to understand that does not mean immigration enforcement will decrease in that location; in fact, it’s likely such an area would see a greater ICE presence in the community, as in jurisdictions that do not cooperate with ICE the agency has no choice but to target specific persons on the streets that it otherwise would’ve taken into custody at the detention center.
Another consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter additional unlawfully present foreign nationals that would not have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail. The only persons encountered via 287g are persons who have been criminally arrested. If a 287g program is rescinded, and ICE is forced to conduct more at-large arrest operations, that is likely to result in more unlawfully present persons being encountered by ICE, not less.
Per your request for stats, here are the total number of encounters and removals for Henderson County for the past three years. I don't have beyond that on hand as I've only been in Atlanta since the end of 2015.
- FY18 287g: Henderson County: 44 encounters (24 with prior criminal convictions before most-recent arrest), 39 removals (32 with criminal convictions)
- FY17 287g: Henderson County: 82 encounters (75 with prior criminal convictions before most-recent arrest), 30 removals (26 with criminal convictions)
- FY16 287g: Henderson County: 58 encounters, 5 removals
You also mentioned potentially holding a public meeting in the near future that you’d like to have someone from ICE speak at to further explain the program details. I’d be happy to coordinate with my community relations counterpart on this, but please understand we could participate in a general community meeting to provide information about an ICE program; however, we would not be able to do so if it’s a partisan political group or a group solely limited to persons advocating on behalf of a particular cause. The Hatch Act places explicit limitations on federal employees being involved in any sort of political advocacy so the type of gathering would make a key distinction as to whether we’d be able to participate or not. I haven’t yet had a chance to speak with my community relations counterpart, but between the two of us I would think we should be able to accommodate your request provided it’s a gathering open to the public as a whole.
My direct contact info is below. Please let me know if I can provide any additional explanation or context on this information.
Bryan D. Cox
Southern Region Communications Director (Spokesman)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(404) 346-2287 Office
(504) 329-2588 Mobile