Horry County Sheriff’s Office partners with ICE to enforce immigration laws

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through its 287(g) program.

Four corrections officers at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center are in the process of being trained as designated immigration officers (DIO’s) to help enforce federal immigration laws

“It provides safer communities by identifying individuals who shouldn’t be here and are committing crimes,” said Geoffrey Tracey, Program Manager for 287(g).

He said everyone who is arrested and brought into J. Reuben Long will be interviewed and screened by a DIO and the officer will be able to check on their status in the country.

“If a determination is made that they are amendable to removal proceedings a charging document called a notice to appear will be issued to the individual along with a warrant of arrest and their rights,” said Tracey. “They will remain in custody with the Sheriff until they have completed their local charges. Once their local charges are complete we will be notified. At that point we then bring them into our custody and we take over and process them for immigration proceedings. Depending on what happens they may be allowed to stay by an immigration judge or they can be ordered removed by an immigration judge.”

Sheriff Phillip Thompson wants to make sure the public understands this program is only for people charged with a crime.

“This is not a task force operation where folks are going out on the street and working different job sites and different things,” he added. “The only way you get involved in this program is if you are charged with an offense and come into the detention center.”

Thompson said they’ve been trying to get the program for years and is glad it’s getting started in Horry County.

“The reason I feel very strongly that we need this is to make sure our community is as safe as it can possibly be,” said Thompson. “And to make sure the folks that are here are here in the proper status.”

Tracey said the four corrections officers are in the training process and once they are done the program will begin in Horry County. ICE provides all the technology and training needed at no extra cost to the Sheriff’s Office.

Below are the nine agencies in the Carolinas that have signed agreements with ICE:

North Carolina:

  • Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office
  • Gaston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Henderson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wake County Sheriff’s Office

South Carolina

  • Charleston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Horry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lexington County Sheriff’s Office
  • York County Sheriff’s Office

You can read more about Horry County’s agreement with ICE: here.

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