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Home  |  News  |  INMATE POPULATION DECREASES BY NEARLY 20 PERCENT AFTER IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED

INMATE POPULATION DECREASES BY NEARLY 20 PERCENT AFTER IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED
Tuesday, January 8, 2013

 
LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - The average number of inmates housed daily at the Lexington County Detention Center decreased by nearly 20 percent in 2012, compared with 2010. In 2010, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department signed an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce federal immigration laws at the Detention Center under ICE’s supervision.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said the average number of inmates housed daily at the Detention Center decreased by 178 inmates, or 19 percent, in 2012, compared with 2010. In September 2010, specially trained correctional officers began enforcing federal immigration laws at the Detention Center under ICE’s supervision.

Since September 2010, specially trained correctional officers have interviewed 998 aliens jailed at the Lexington County Detention Center who were taken into ICE custody and placed into removal proceedings, according to ICE. Of the 998 aliens, 681 aliens, or 68 percent, have been removed from the United States by ICE or voluntarily returned to their home countries.

ICE provided training for five correctional officers to enforce federal immigration laws at the Detention Center under ICE’s supervision as part of the Section 287(g) Immigration Authority Delegation Program, Metts said. ICE pays the cost of housing inmates at the Detention Center who are in ICE’s custody.

“We are working to enhance the quality of life in our community through the 287(g) program by removing criminals who illegally entered the United States from a foreign country,” Metts said. “In addition, we are reducing the number of inmates who are housed at the Detention Center, which saves taxpayers money.”

Metts said criminals who were identified by correctional officers at the Detention Center as aliens who illegally entered the United States from a foreign country include the following inmates who were booked at the Detention Center:

  • A 43-year-old man booked at the Detention Center on December 4, 2011 on charges of murder and possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The man fatally stabbed his nephew on December 4, 2011 at a home on Two Notch Road near Leesville. Specially trained correctional officers at the Detention Center determined that the 43-year-old man, who was born in Guatemala, illegally entered the United States from a foreign country. The officers placed a detainer on the man with ICE, pending further action by ICE.
  • A 48-year-old woman booked at the Detention Center on October 4, 2011 after officers with the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) arrested the woman on charges of trafficking in marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and conspiring to manufacture marijuana. Correctional officers at the Detention Center determined that the 48-year-old woman, who was born in Mexico, illegally entered the United States from a foreign country. The officers placed a detainer on the woman with ICE, pending further action by ICE. After executing search warrants at six homes near Batesburg, Gilbert and Leesville, NET officers seized 51 pounds of marijuana that was packaged for distribution and 319 marijuana plants. The packaged marijuana and marijuana plants had a combined street value of $430,000. The arrest of the 48-year-old woman and the seizure of marijuana plants and packaged marijuana resulted from an eight-month undercover investigation that NET officers conducted concerning a large-scale, sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation that was based at the six homes.
  • A 26-year-old man booked at the Detention Center on March 7, 2012 on arrest warrants that allege the man used a machete to assault two other men in separate incidents. The 26-year-old man was arrested on charges of assault and battery with intent to kill and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Correctional officers at the Detention Center determined that the 26-year-old man illegally entered the United States from Mexico. The officers placed a detainer on the 26-year-old man with ICE, pending further action by ICE.

The Sheriff’s Department signed a 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement with ICE that enables specially trained correctional officers to enforce federal immigration laws under ICE’s supervision at the county Detention Center, Metts said. The Memorandum of Agreement is authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That section enables officers to legally identify criminal and illegal aliens whom they might encounter and initiate removal proceedings for persons who are found to be in the United States illegally.

The five specially trained correctional officers are authorized by ICE to check the immigration statuses of all inmates who are housed at the county Detention Center, Metts said. Correctional officers detain inmates, pending further action by ICE, when the officers determine that the inmates also violated federal immigration law.

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