In February 2007, Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger entered into a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security to identify and process individuals arrested in Gaston County who are in the country illegally. This process, known as the 287 (g) Program, allowed the Gaston County Sheriff's Office to become the second of eight counties in North Carolina to perform this service on the East Coast.
The voluntary initiative, authorizing state and local authorities to work with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify and detain immigration offenders, is found in Section 287 (g) of the "Immigration and Nationality Act." The initiative is designed to effectively multiply the forces of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement capabilities through the enhanced cooperation and communication with state and local law enforcement.
As of June 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have certified sixteen deputies from Gaston County to carry out certain duties traditionally handled by Federal Immigration Officers. These deputies determine whether there is probable cause for an immigration violation and complete the processing for criminal aliens. This process includes fingerprinting, preparing documentation to place aliens in deportation proceedings and preparing documentation to deport aliens following immigration protocol.
Using equipment and technology called IDENT, deputies now fingerprint and photograph all non US born arrestees. The IDENT system searches a special biometric database that only contains information on aliens that have been arrested or have had some type of immigration encounter. Additional information regarding an arrestee's immigration status will be determined based on an in-depth interview of the individuals past history.
Since April 2007 throughJune 2010 these deputies have identified and interviewed 1312 foreign born nationals. Of these, 1163 have been processed for deportation.
For information concerning immigration issues or information about someone detained on an immigration detainer, contact our immigration officers at 704-862-6737.