The Bradley County Sheriff's Office has joined the Federal Criminal Alien Program offered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Criminal Alien Removal Act of 2008 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out a program to:
1. Identify incarcerated criminal aliens.
2. Ensure that such aliens are not released into the community.
3. Remove such aliens from the United States upon release.
Sheriff Tim Gobble and Chief Deputy Bill Dyer met recently with representatives of ICE to finalize details of Bradley County's participation. The act focuses on identifying criminal aliens who are incarcerated in Bradley County thereby helping to ensure that they are not released back into the community after they serve their sentence.
This program allows the correction staff in the Bradley County jail's booking office to check the immigration status of all new inmates. As a normal part of the booking process correction officers will ask all inmates a number of questions such as where they were born and if they are a United States citizen. If the officer suspects the person being booked is here illegally or that their immigration status is questionable, an inquiry will begin to obtain more information about the individual. Those with questionable legal status have their names faxed to ICE for computer records checks and status verification.
If ICE cannot verify legal status, the individual is assumed to be here illegally and ICE will issue a federal detainer and forward it to the BCSO. This allows the BCSO to hold these individuals after their court proceedings are over and/or sentence is served.
Once the judicial process has concluded, the person will be held for federal authorities who have 48 hours to pick them up and begin deportation proceedings. This program also prevents those identified as illegal aliens from being released on bond once the detainer is received.
Sheriff Gobble said, "This is a step in the right direction, but the Federal government must get the illegal alien problem under control by securing the U.S. borders and quickly deporting all who come here illegally. The first test of citizenship is the ability to follow the law. If someone comes to this country illegally, they have failed the first test of citizenship and should be deported until they can demonstrate adherence and respect for this country's rule of law."
"I am a great supporter of legal immigration and I am proud that the Statute Of Liberty still welcomes the world's 'tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free' and holds her welcoming lamp 'beside the golden door.'"
"However, I am strongly opposed to illegal immigration. It is important for all immigrants desiring citizenship to come here legally, it is also imperative that the federal government reduce the immigration bureaucracy and streamline a legal immigration process that promotes lawful entry into this country instead of discouraging it."
Chief Deputy Dyer pointed out over the last several years there has been a noticeable increase in criminal offenders being brought to the jail who are unable to provide the arresting officer and the booking officer with either a driver's license, social security card or any authenticated immigration papers.
Sheriff Gobble has worked diligently for months seeking viable solutions for the increasing local illegal alien problem. He said, "Getting this illegal alien problem under control will promote public safety and national security for all citizens."