Posted on March 16, 2006

Deputies Training to Question, Deport Illegal Immigrants (Charlotte), March 14, 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Immigration agents are training Mecklenburg County deputies on how to question and deport illegal immigrants.

In a little over a month, sheriff’s deputies at the Mecklenburg County Jail will begin questioning and deporting illegal immigrants.

On Tuesday, 10 deputies and two sergeants began a five-week training session beginning with the classroom sessions.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement are training the deputies. ICE agents will train them to question and deport criminal aliens.

While some members of the Latin community have raised profiling concerns, Mecklenburg Sheriff Jim Pendergraph said that won’t be the case.

“If we see an increase in people being under arrest for things that they normally would’ve gotten a citation for, but now they’re under arrest, we’re going to raise that issue. I can’t see that happening,” he said.

Pendergraph estimates 15 percent — 350 inmates — at the Mecklenburg County Jail are illegal immigrants. He said illegal immigrants comprised only 2 percent of the jail’s population three years ago.

Of those 350 inmates, Pendergraph said not all of them will be deported. He said it all depends on the nature of their crime.