Controversial immigration program draws questions from public

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Las Vegas Metro Police met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials Tuesday to discuss an immigration program that has drawn criticism.

287G allows Metro corrections officers to carry out the duties of ICE agents inside the Clark County Detention Center.

After a brief discussion between Metro and ICE, both agencies answered questions from the public regarding the controversial 287G program.

Alicia Contreras asked if field officers can ask individuals about their immigration status because it happened to her.

 “It’s very alarming to me that that’s happening,” says Contreras, mi familia vota. 

Metro says it’s against department policy, adding the immigration program should only be enforced inside the Clark County Detention Center.

Currently, Metro has four 287G officers with seven others in training.

The officers have access to a federal database and share information with ICE about undocumented immigrants booked into jail. ICE can then take the individuals into federal custody and determine deportation proceedings.

“Obviously a little more messaging on this and what the intent of the program is cause I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings,” says Richard Forbus, Metro. 

Under federal policy, a criminal conviction is not necessary in order to initiate deportation proceedings.

8 News NOW asked Metro if they had concerns with ICE taking custody of someone who hasn’t gone through the local court system.

“It’s not necessarily that they’re going to be deported immediately just because we placed a detainer, Forbus says.

While ICE pays for training, immigrant rights advocates questioned Metro about using half-a-million dollars every year to pay for 287G officers.

 “The money that’s being spent for 287G can be spent elsewhere in the community to build better relationships,” Contreras says.

The department is standing behind its decision to participate in the program saying they are focusing their efforts on the worst of the worst.

Over the last two years, Metro has handed over more than 2,800 undocumented immigrants to ICE.

The police department has participated in the program for about a decade. Sheriff Joe Lombardo renewed the agreement with ICE in 2016. It expires in 2019.
 

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