The Sunshine Weekly is an effort to live up to the Raleigh Public Record name. The idea here is to make public records requests and publish the documents that come out of the requests full text on our website. This is where you come in. What do you want to know from your government? We will request documents from city, county, state and federal departments, the only catch is that it needs to be related to Raleigh in some fashion. But we will do the legwork. Click on the Contact page to get in touch.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Department signed a new agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement last month under what is known as the 287(g) program. The agreement allows sheriff’s deputies in the Wake County jail to be trained to screen people for their immigration status after they’re arrested. People found to be in the country illegally are handed over to federal authorities for deportation after being tried and potentially serving sentences for what they were arrested for.
Rebecca Headen with the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU has analyzed the agreement and told the Raleigh Public Record that there isn’t much change with the new agreement. She said changes that are in the new agreement include attempts to limit public access to information and statistics about the program, which Headen called “highly problematic.”
Headen says the changes to the contract include “aspirational” suggestions, including priority levels for arrest. She said that the agreement gives guidelines that people should not be arrested for minor violations such as traffic tickets. “But in actuality, there is no mandate,” Headen said. She said there had been a number of incidents in Wake and other counties across North Carolina of people being arrested on what’s called “low priority offenses” such as not stopping completely at a stop sign.
She said the new agreement “does not prevent or even discourage arrests for low-priority offenses.” Headen went on to say that Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison has said that his department will continue to arrest people for minor violations.
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Harrison said that his department’s policy is to arrest people who they do not think will show up for court. “It’s up to the officer in the field,” Harrison said, “If you don’t have proper documentation or you can’t prove who you are, we’re going to probably bring you downtown.”
“ICE can’t tell us who to arrest and who not to arrest,” Harrison said.
Wake County has been involved in the 287(g) since July 2008. Harrison said his department has processed more than 3,000 people for deportation under the program.