GASTONIA - Faced with a growing jail population of illegal immigrants, Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger announced Friday that his department will join a federal program that allows local law enforcement officers to screen for illegal immigrants and place them in deportation proceedings.
The Gaston County Sheriff's Office will become the eighth law enforcement agency in the country to join the program.
Cloninger made the announcement at a congressional hearing in Gastonia on how local authorities can combat illegal immigration.
Details on the local program are still being worked out, but Cloninger said six deputies will be trained as certified federal immigration officers.
And, in 60 to 90 days, he said, the Gaston County Jail with begin using a federal database to check the immigration status of every foreign-born person arrested.
Those identified as illegal immigrants will be reported to immigration officials, and deportation proceedings would be started.
Glad to see a sheriff doing his duty.