Sheriff: Lexington Co. jail program deports 240 detainees

LEXINGTON COUNTY (WACH) -- Inside a small office at the Lexington County Detention Center, two officers trained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also known as ICE work side-by-side.

Under the 287(g) program, Kevin Farley and Melissa Lyons can quickly identify suspected illegal immigrants.

While everyone who comes into the jail is screened, if the person is found to be foreign born then their fingerprints are run through an ICE database.

I think we have established over 45 countries where people have been booked into our facility, according to Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.

If an inmate is in the country illegally, a detainer is placed on the individual by ICE.

It TMs required the person fulfill all charges before being turned over to immigration. During that time, ICE will reimburse the jail $55 a day.

Not only do we identify and eventually get rid of some of the population, but we also get paid for housing those individual, where in the past neither of those things happened, Metts says.

Ivan Segura of the S.C. Hispanic Leadership Council doesn TMt believe those benefits outweigh the negatives of the program.

This is going to lead people to racial profile even though they are not supposed to do it, Segura says.

Officials add those involved with 287(g) are not targeting immigrants, and that anyone who breaks the law will be subject to same procedures.