GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – Eighteen Texas sheriffs, including Bill Waybourn (R-Tarrant County), have signed partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The agreement, announced at the Sheriffs Association of Texas conference in Grapevine, allows jailers to screen inmates’ immigration status.

It’s all part of a federal program called 287g.

If the jail inmates are not in the U.S. legally, the county jailers will contact ICE, which can then place a hold on them to keep them from bailing out of jail.

Currently, ICE has agents inside the jails doing the job between Monday and Friday.

But Sheriff Waybourn says he plans to have eleven jailers involved in the program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

ICE’s Acting Director Thomas Homan praised the sheriffs. “We got 8,000 law enforcement officers in ICE. The sheriffs are stepping up to the plate to protect their communities. It gives us more resources to arrest everybody we can who are here and commit crimes against citizens,” said Homan.

“It’s a public safety issue. We believe we should step up to the plate and help. We have identified people like MS-13 in our jails. So we’re targeting these people they say are a threat to national security as well as local,” said Sheriff Waybourn.

The sheriff says the program isn’t costing his department any additional money and won’t take away any of his resources. ICE will pay to train the county jailers.

The sheriff says he hopes to have his jailers begin in the next 90 days.