Deputies Trained To Deal With Illegal Immigration

Monday, September 17th 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

Deputies with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office have completed training on immigration enforcement that gives some deputies and detention officers the skills to better deal with illegal immigration. The training won't lead to the arrest of any immigrants solely because of their status, but it will give deputies a way to more easily determine who is and is not in the country legally. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports that process won't start until a person has already become a suspect in a crime.

Tulsa County Sheriff's Sergeant Shannon Clark is one of the deputies newly certified to enforce federal immigration laws through the sheriff's office. Primarily, they'll work through a database that links up with the Department of Homeland Security.

"Here we're going to have the database where we can do the research and we can put the detainers on them right here in the jail ourselves," says Sergeant Shannon Clark of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Twenty-eight detention officers and deputies went through five weeks of training to learn how to better determine immigration status, and then verify what they've been told.

“You would be surprised, a lot of them do give us the correct information,” explains Sergeant Clark.

The immigration system checks and verifies fingerprints and takes another picture, in addition to what's been done during the regular jail booking process. Clark believes the new system will help deputies in the field and staff in the jail more easily identify illegal immigrants among the people accused of crimes.

"We understand how immigration works and what questions are going to be better for us to ask to better determine alienage, and two being able to look through the databases that are available to determine if our questioning was truthful or not," says Sergeant Clark.

Since June, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office has identified 400 people at the jail who were in the country illegally. They were all sent to Oklahoma City for hearings. The sheriff's office only deals with them to that point, so they don't know if those people were deported, but the immigrants can argue their case before an immigration judge if they want.

Watch the video: Sheriff's Office Completes Immigration Enforcement Training