Sheriff’s office checking immigration status

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The new policy was adopted in compliance with a new state law effective this year that allows the sheriff&squo;s office to check immigration status.

Following arrests, personnel in the Polk County Jail are required to send fingerprinting information to the state to check immigration status. The fingerprints are sent to the state&squo;s new system for a match.

Polk County&squo;s head jailer Donald Hill says his office has been checking the status since the law took effect a few months ago and so far, no illegal immigrants have been found in Polk County.

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Polk County Sheriff Chris Abril says he thinks detaining illegals is a good thing, but it should be done at the border and not made a responsibility of local governments and local taxpayers. He says his office is carrying out the new law, but it does make local law enforcement more difficult, especially with the problem of aliases.

Henderson County is also starting a program in cooperation with the federal government to receive training and send out of the county illegal immigrants who are charged with a crime. Henderson County has proposed working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to coordinate efforts for an eight-county region that includes Polk County.