Sheriff in Houston Backs Programs to Deport Illegal Immigrants


Deportation is a harrowing process that can split families apart. Although deportations are less common now in Texas than a few years ago, one sheriff has incurred the anger of local activities by supporting jail programs that work with immigration officials to deport undocumented immigrants who are convicted of crimes.

Last month Breitbart reported how Ron Hickman, the sheriff of Harris County, is supporting the controversial program in the face of opposition.

Notwithstanding his cooperation with the program, Hickman met representatives of United We Dream, an anti-deportation group, last month.  Immigration lawyers and other members of the Houston community were also at the meeting.

Child holding a sign that reads 'peace for immigrants'

The program in question is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program 287(g). Harris and Carrollton police departments are signed up in Texas.

The program allows law enforcement officers to identify inmates who are not lawfully in the country when they are in the Harris County jail. Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can then detain and possibly deport them on their release.

The Breitbart report said of about 120,000 inmates held annually in the Harris County penal system, 1,831 individuals were detained by ICE officials in 2015, representing about 1.5 percent of the jail’s population.  However, only 167 inmates who were detained in the jail on criminal charges were ultimately deported.

Houston Public Media reported that Harris will be reviewing the program in June.  Hickman pointed out at a recent meeting of the Harris County Commissioners that it is not a “high volume activity,” and an average of about nine people a month were deported from January of 2015 to September of the same year under the ICE program.

Deportations were rampant in the United States before President Obama announced his “deferred action” plans in 2012. An article in described how Obama earned himself the nickname of “deporter in chief” during his first term of office as he removed about 400,000 noncitizens every year — more than any administration in U.S. history. Read more on our website about deferred action.

Although mass deportations are less common than a few years ago, the existence of the 287 (g) program in Houston and elsewhere, demonstrates how targeting of inmates is still taking place.

If you or a loved one is facing possible deportation or any other immigration nightmare, you should consider contacting our experienced Texas deportation defense attorneys today at  (512) 399-2311 or see our questions and answers about deportation.

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