Three NC Sheriffs Participate In Federal Immigrant Program

.Sheriffs in three counties are using a federal program that allows them to hold illegal immigrants arrested in their jurisdictions for deportation proceedings.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is the latest of about a dozen law enforcement agencies across the United States to participate. Sheriffs in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties also take part and check immigration status of foreigners they arrest.

Johnson says the program brings in extra money for the county at about 66 dollars a night for each illegal alien his department detains. It also rids the county of illegal immigrants, whom he said drain the system of public resources.

Marco Zarate, president of the N.C. Society of Hispanic Professionals, said the sheriff has incorrect understanding of Hispanics.

The program was created in 1996, but not used until 2002 when a Florida agency signed up.