Seven counties participating in a program designed to flag illegal immigrants in county jails have flagged for deportation proceedings more than 3,100 people since January.
That figure represents 70 percent of the 4,500 prisoners interviewed in the seven jails that are participating in a federal program designed to allow county and local officials to help enforce federal immigration laws, said Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president and general counsel of the N.C. Sheriffs' Association.
Caldwell's gave the figures for the seven counties as part of a presentation to a legislative oversight committee on crime and corrections.
Under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1996, local law enforcement agencies can be granted authority to handle immigration. The seven counties participating in the program are Alamance, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Gaston, Henderson, Mecklenburg and Wake.
On Jan. 1, a law went into effect requiring jail operators to try to determine the residency status of anyone arrested for impaired driving or a felony. But the counties participaing in the federal partnership have much greater access to federal immigration resources.
More after the jump.
Correction: Post and headline have been updated to reflect that it's the federal partnership, not the state law, that most directly led to the removal proceedings.