ICE program will allow Smith County jail to identify immigrants

ICE program will allow Smith County jail to identify immigrants
(Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The Smith County Sheriff's Office has been accepted into the Immigration Customs Enforcement's (ICE) 287-G program.

The office applied for the program back in January. Sheriff Larry Smith says they are targeting repeat illegal criminal offenders, and he says this program will help keep them behind bars.As a part of the program, when inmates are booked in, their fingerprints will be run through the ICE database.

"We have to fingerprint them and then forward those fingerprints to ICE, which can sometimes take too long," Smith said of the current procedure.

Smith said with the ICE technology here locally, jail staff can immediately identify illegal immigrants before they are able to bond out of jail.

"Get them in the ICE system quickly enough to put a detainer on them, where they might otherwise not have a detainer," Smith said

Smith said before they can start using the new fingerprint system, jail staff will be deputized as ICE agents after training at the ICE Academy.

"It will approve the effectiveness and efficiency of these illegal immigrants that are housed in the Smith County Jail," Smith said.

Smith said they arrest immigrant offenders for charges across the board.

"Stabbing, shooting, robbery, there will be many more detentions of criminal illegal aliens over the coming months, I would anticipate," Smith said.

Smith said the jail can house more than 1,100 inmates. He said once they get this phase up and running, they will work to hold immigrant offenders for neighboring counties.

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