by Sam Hieb
Forsyth County commissioners are still leaning on Sheriff Bill Schatzman to sign on for the federal program that would allow local authorities to properly handle illegal immigrants.
Schatzman is still resisting:
Schatzman has for months expressed skepticism about the benefits of the program compared with its cost and the strain it would put on his department……
He reiterated last week that he does not think that it is healthy for this country to have so many undocumented residents. But he said that the solution is not the immigration-screening program favored by the commissioners.
“Having folks in this country that we are unaware of is a bad thing, and we need to do something about that,” Schatzman said. “But I can’t do everything. We operate under constraints and with the resources that are available.”
He said that the county already turns over people who are in this country illegally to the federal government if they commit serious crimes, from sex offenses to murder.
Schatzman said that the Forsyth County Jail does not have the space to hold illegal immigrants who are convicted of smaller offenses. He said that the sheriff’s office does not have enough staff to process them, either.
Before it starts an immigration-screening process, Schatzman said, the sheriff’s office needs more money to run existing programs.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency do not have unlimited resources, either, Schatzman said, adding that it is unlikely that ICE agents could handle the workload if all North Carolina counties signed up for the program.
Schatzman said he believes that the screening program has become a politically easy solution to a much more complex problem.
“We don’t do the wrong things because of political pressure,” Schatzman said.
I understand Schatzman’s point of view. But with the collapse of the recent immigration bill (which stood as much of a chance of putting a dent in the problem as Schatzman says the ICE does now), the main tool government has to deal with illegals is the threat of deportation. That’s reality.
While we’re on the subject, does anyone think they should check the status of Jose de Jesus Euzondo Balderas?