CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano ended an agreement with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on her first day in office.
The 287(g) agreement is a voluntary program in which deputies at the Al Cannon Detention Center are trained to work on immigration enforcement cases with an ICE supervisor at the county jail.
Once the deputies are trained, the agreement authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to deputize them to enforce federal immigration laws.
Graziano said the agreement changed over the past three years, from a targeted effort to catch violent offenders to “a blanketed mission of any offender here undocumented, regardless of whether they committed any crimes”
“This has led the Charleston county sheriff’s office to be complicit in racial profiling of the Latinx community, and I am sorry that this has happened to that community,” she said.
Latino community members say they hope this will alleviate the fear some people have of law enforcement.
“This is something we Latinos have been waiting for, for a long time, “community member Elena Reyes said. “We have been waiting for this moment, and we are just happy that it’s happening.”
Graziano says the agreement cost Charleston County taxpayers millions of dollars to house mostly nonviolent undocumented people, which she says led to “a breakdown of trust between the sheriff’s office and local immigrant communities,” a release from the sheriff’s office states.
Graziano also said the agreement cost Charleston County taxpayers millions of dollars to house mostly nonviolent undocumented people.
“The federal government only pays us about 40% of what it actually cost to house detainees or undocumented people in our facilities,” she said. The county residents and taxpayers pick up the rest of that tab and I think that money can be spent better elsewhere.”
“The mutually beneficial agreements allow state and local officers to act as a force multiplier in the identification, arrest, and service of warrants and detainers of incarcerated foreign-born individuals with criminal charges or convictions,” the ICE website explains. ICE says the agreement allows undocumented people who are subject to deportation to be identified while still in state or local custody, which can reduce the time the person spends in ICE custody.
Under former Sheriff Al Cannon, the department worked with ICE since 2009. But Graziano made ending the agreement one of her campaign promises.