Transparency and accountability from ICE?: No aquí

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, estimates his department spends $1.3 million a year to staff its 287 (g) program under which specially trained deputies refer county jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation.

I say "possible," because no one seems to know or is willing to tell how many of those referred are actually kicked out of the country. So how is the sheriff to know if he is spending that money wisely?

Since November of 2008 under the program police placed immigration detainers on 2,722 inmates.

According to a story in the Sunday paper, "It’s unknown how many local inmates referred to ICE were deported. ICE has said it doesn’t track removals that way. Those referred to the agency by local law enforcement become part of ICE’s larger caseload. Those cases can drag on for months or even years."

In fact Metro doesn’t even bother to refer all suspected illegal immigrants to ICE. Police have decided not to refer to ICE more than 2,300 inmates thought to be in the country illegally, because they had no prior criminal history and had been booked on only minor charges. "We’re focusing on higher level criminals," Lt. Rich Forbus was quoted as saying. "We’re not going to refer somebody for jaywalking."

Some might differ on that call and say being in the country illegally is still a crime punishable by deportation. But if no one knows what happens to even the hardened criminals. What is the point?

So much for transparency and accountability. We don’t know if ICE is doing its job and whether Metro is spinning its wheels and greasing them with our local tax dollars.


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