Butler County Mounts Drive To Oust Illegal Immigrants

Mary Lolli, Dayton Daily News, Oct. 22

HAMILTON—Less than 24 hours after President Bush announced a national initiative to reduce the numbers of illegal immigrants living in the United States, Butler County officials launched a county initiative to rid the county of undocumented, foreign-born residents.

Friday, Sheriff Richard K. Jones, county Commissioner Michael Fox and state Rep. Courtney Combs, R-Hamilton, announced a multi-tiered program they said is the first of its kind in the country.

Beginning Monday, Jones said he will be requiring a declaration of citizenship from all inmates booked into the county jail.

Combs said he is drafting legislation that will make it a state offense for illegal immigrants to cross Ohio’s borders.

Fox is working on initiatives to discourage employers from hiring illegal immigrants.

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Although officials have no estimates on the number of illegal immigrants living within the county, Jones said that in the past two years more than 600 inmates had been booked into the county jail without Social Security numbers, which he said makes them undocumented persons.

In the past year, 885 foreign born people had been booked into the jail, some documented, some not.

“It cost us $1 million alone to house just those who were booked into our jail without Social Security numbers,” Jones said. “It’s more likely than not that an adult living in the United States without a Social Security number is an illegal alien.”

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HAMILTON—Butler County officials said Friday they expect their plans to crack down on illegal aliens will generate a lot of controversy—particularly with civil rights activists and possibly ethnic groups or unions.

They were right.

By Friday afternoon the Ohio Civil Liberties Union was already on alert to closely watch and review Butler County’s plans.

“I have not seen the proposals or anything in writing yet on Butler County’s plans, but from the little that I’ve heard I can say at the outset that, in general, any plan that calls for local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration violations is a bad idea,” said Ohio ACLU Litigation Coordinator Gary Daniels, of Cleveland.

At the outset, Daniels said local officials can’t guarantee they aren’t creating a situation that will invite or encourage racial profiling.

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