Donnie Harrison, sheriff of Wake County, signed up with the 287(g) program wherein the federal government delegates enforcement of immigration laws to local law agencies when an undocumented immigrant is arrested. The partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the federal Homeland Security agency is up for renewal. It should not be renewed, but the sheriff intends to move in that direction.
Basically, deputies can determine a person’s immigration status after the person is arrested on suspicion of a crime. Deportation can follow.
The sheriff says the program helps him keep people safe. But he doesn’t seem to grasp the big picture here: Allowing this kind of program lets the federal government skirt its duties on enforcing immigration laws. Congress has failed to engage in reasonable immigration reform that will not cause chaos – the kind that would result, for example, if presidential candidate Donald Trump put in place as president his ridiculous idea to deport the approximately 11 million people now in the country illegally.
Taking up the federal job of enforcing immigration laws is a drain on personnel the sheriff could put to better use. The sheriff’s resources could be better – and more humanely – used. That he’s even in this position points again to the need for comprehensive immigration reform.