FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A program allowing jailers in Tarrant County to check the immigration status of people in custody, is going to continue for at least another year.
Tarrant County Commissioners voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday to extend the program with federal immigration authorities.
Under the agreement, jailers can check inmates’ immigration status and report it to federal agencies.
Opponents say it’s been divisive, creating fear of law enforcement in minority communities and a hesitancy to report crimes.
“Your vote today is a slap in the face to many people who are innocent, but wrongly convicted, or falsely accused,” said Julian Gonzalez. “Your vote today, is a slap in the face to me.”
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn says those communities are not being targeted.
“We are not out in the community conducting traffic stops because of (Section) 287(g) (of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act) and immigration enforcement. We are not conducting any type of raids or targeting exercises. And we’re absolutely not racial profiling,” Sheriff Waybourn said. “This is something that happens inside the brick and mortar of the ail, with Class B misdemeanors and above.”
Sheriff Waybourn said in the last year, the program resulted in nearly 500 people being detained from 27 countries.
Tarrant County is the largest of more than two dozen counties in Texas that participate in the program.