Agreement Renewed To House Illegal Immigrants In Tulsa County Jail

Monday, June 20th 2016, 11:47 am
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa County commissioners renewed an agreement to house illegal immigrants in the jail.

The inmates are held under a program called 287-G, under which the federal government uses the jail as a holding facility for people sometimes arrested outside the county.

Several speakers asked the commissioners to reject the renewal, because of fear it creates in the community among Hispanics.  One man said, "It's hard to be Hispanic in Tulsa," because of aggressive enforcement of traffic laws that leave the perception of racial profiling.

With the 287-G program in place, several advocates said Hispanics are less likely to report crimes because they or their families might be deported.

The agreement involves training detention officers to handle inmates being held for ICE.  An ICE representative said immigrants caught at the border sometimes are held in Tulsa because of the surge in arrests creates a shortage of available space, and that Tulsa's 287-G program only affects what happens inside the jail, not interactions with officers in the community.

Commissioner Karen Keith voted against the renewal, John Smaligo and a representative for Ron Peters voted for the renewal.