CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday officially ended the 287 (G) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Sheriff Graziano, in one of her first official steps after taking office, publicly signed a document dissolving the agreement. She said “our job as deputies is to serve and protect all residents in Charleston County and to be good stewards of taxpayers money. We are not to be used as an extension of the federal government…of federal immigration policy.”
The optional agreement purports to “enhance the safety and security of communities by focusing
resources on identifying and processing removable aliens who have been arrested and booked into
the [law enforcement agency’s] jail/correctional facilities.”
Participating law enforcement agencies select members to be “nominated, trained, and
approved by ICE to perform certain limited functions of an immigration officer within the LEA’ s
Graziano believes that the agreement has been a costly burden on Charleston taxpayers.
Between 2018 and 2020, Charleston taxpayers put down over $12 million towards the program. The federal government only covers 41% of program costs.
She also said that the agreement has led to “a breakdown of trust between the sheriff’s office and local immigrant communities.” Graziano hopes ending the agreement will be the first step in mending the relationship between the local immigrant community and law enforcement.
“We want people to be able to believe that they can turn to us, when they cooperate with us, if they’re the victim of a crime in our community. Our immigrant community currently does not have that trust in us and that ends today with me,” said Sheriff Graziano.
She hopes that revoking the agreement will be a first step “to achieve the trust of all Charleston County residents and to strengthen the bond between the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and the Latinx community.”
A copy of the Memorandum can be found below: