Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office Receives Approval to Use Federal Immigration Database

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings

BOURNE – United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has approved a partnership request from the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff James Cummings applied for the Section 287(g) program of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act earlier this year after being approached by federal officials in February.

The approval allows the Department of Homeland Security to deputize state and local law enforcement officers to enforce selected federal immigration law.

Deputies at the Barnstable County Correctional facility will receive access to ICE databases to check the status of individuals detained for serious crimes and start the process for deportation.

“It’s something that we do now anyway, but it’s going to speed up that process and be much more efficient,” Cummings said.

Cummings says the goal of the program is to improve public safety by identifying illegal aliens, lodging immigration detainers and initiating removal processes.

“My biggest concern was having to release somebody into the community who committed a serious crime but was here illegally,” he said. “I think this will alleviate something like that from happening.”

The program will not be used to identify illegal aliens in the public.

Cummings said criminals who have already been reported to ICE by his office include individuals charged with crimes such as assault and battery, kidnapping, rape and crimes against children.

“If they are here illegally to begin with and they commit a crime while they are here, of this nature, why not remove them and send them back where they came from,” Cummings said.

The program will train four deputies from the sheriff’s office for about 20 days.

“That is all that is going to be trained in this and they will be folks who are in our special operations department or in our booking department,” Cummings said. “They will be people who have contact with arrestees as they come in to the jail.”

Cummings said his office is waiting to hear when the next training opportunities are available.

ICE equipment will then be installed at the facility.

“Then there’s probably a couple month learning period for our office to get used to the database and train with ICE folks and how to use it and their policies and procedures relative to setting an individual up for removal,” Cummings said.

Cummings said Barnstable County is one of only three or four counties in the state to have been chosen to participate by the federal agency. Bristol and Plymouth Counties are either in the process or already trained.


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