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Reuters: Police in Trump-supporting towns aid immigration crackdown

Posted at 9:13 AM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 09:13:26-05

HAMILTON, Ohio -- The five dozen police departments across the United States that have earned new powers to vet the immigration status of people they arrest are primarily in smaller, Trump-supporting cities, Reuters reports.

The federal 287 (g) initiative deputizes state and local officers to check whether arrestees are here illegally and then turn them over to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents if that's the case.

The program has doubled to 60 participating departments across 18 states since President Donald Trump took office in January, according to Reuters.

The Butler County Sheriff's Office is the only participant in the program in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana, after Sheriff Richard Jones signed a memorandum of agreement on Sept. 14, 2016.

About three-fourths of the agencies that have signed 287 (g) agreements are in counties that went red for Trump in the 2016 election, according to Reuters' analysis.

"Most of the police departments that have joined, or are seeking to join, the program have relatively small populations, typically fewer than 100,000 residents, with small immigrant populations," Reuters writes.

Conversely, Reuters reports that the three dozen "sanctuary cities" who have limited cooperation on enforcing immigration average a half-million citizens with a larger percentage of those being foreign-born.

Mayor John Cranley declared Cincinnati to be among those in January.

"This city stands with immigrants. This city stands with Muslims. This city stands with Syrian refugees yearning to breath free," Cranley said at a news conference. "This city has been for years, and will remain a sanctuary city."

Jones told WCPO earlier this year that the immigration system is broken since the government hadn't hired enough judges to process the backlog of deportation cases.

"In the meantime, we all lose," Jones said, expressing hope that the issue would gain the attention and funding it deserves.

Besides extending their powers, 287 (g) is a money-making proposition for local agencies as they house immigrant detainees on the federal government's dime. The Butler County Jail has raked in millions of dollars over the past five years as it houses detainees at a daily rate of $53.20 each.

“It’s an opportunity to make money for a county that is facing economic hardship,” Chris Kleinberg, the sheriff of Dakota County, Nebraska, told Reuters.