Houston City Hall: The Next Battleground Over 287(g)
October 27, 2009

On Tuesday morning, protestors gathered outside the Harris County Commissioners Court building to speak up about the volatile issue of  immigration enforcement inside the county jails.

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County Judge Ed Emmett joined with the majority of commissioners (commissioner Garcia voted no) to extend the 287(g) program for another three years.

According to Sheriff Adrian Garcia, about one thousand illegal immigrants have been processed and turned over to ICE in the year since the program has been operating.

This is how the program works: when someone is arrested for committing a crime, they are questioned and fingerprinted inside the Harris County  Jail by trained deputies. If  they get back information that the suspect is in the country illegally, that person is turned over to ICE for likely deportation.

On Wednesday, some members of  Houston City Council plan to hold a special called meeting in an effort to begin enforcing 287(g) in the jails.

Council Members Mike Sullivan, Toni Lawrence and Anne Clutterbuck, won’t have a quorum, but they hope they can pressure Mayor Bill White and their council colleagues into taking action.

Mayor White is out-of-town and has no plans to attend the meeting.

Council member Sullivan told me that he believes the majority of   Houston Police officers and his constituents in district E support 287(g), and that is why he is participating in the meeting.