North Carolina, the first state in the nation to craft a formal partnership with federal immigration authorities, is moving ahead in its efforts to combat illegal immigration.
The state has focused its efforts on identifying undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for other crimes.
The 287(g) program, already active in Mecklenburg, Alamance, Gaston and Cabarrus counties, allows local law enforcement officials to take on some responsibilities of immigration officers.
Officers trained in the program use federal databases to check the identity and residency status of non-U.S. citizens who have been arrested.
Richard Rocha, spokesman for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said other N.C. counties will participate in the Criminal Alien Program, in which federal immigration officials are stationed in local jails.
Some nearby counties have seen positive results from participation in 287(g).
Six months after Alamance County instituted its 287(g) program, officials reported that the number of people being processed through the county jail had decreased.