U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has deported about 14,118 illegal immigrants from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia since October 1, according to the agency. This agency is touting the number as proof of an increase in enforcement of immigration laws.
One of the ways they're catching more illegal immigrants is through prison and jail screenings, as The Greenville News reports:
In South Carolina, illegal immigrants come to the government's attention in a variety of ways. Some jails and detention centers, such as the one in Pickens County, screen all prisoners and notify immigration agents when they find possible illegals. Others are caught in workplace raids. Still others, already known to the agency, are caught by its fugitive team.
Those serving time for a conviction must complete their sentence before immigration agents will pick them up, though they will place a detainer on the inmate as soon as they determine the prisoner is in the country illegally, officials said.
But even this increase in deportations doesn't satisfy some, as the News continues:
Tim Morgan, the assistant sheriff in Pickens County, said his deputies have notified immigration officials of 78 illegals that deputies have arrested since last August, when the sheriff's office began tracking numbers on illegal immigrant cases. ICE picked up 20 and filed detainers on 11 more, Morgan said. The rest, he said, the agency declined to pick up.
That bothers Margaret Thompson, a Clemson city councilwoman and a vocal supporter of immigration reform. She said she believes ICE could do more good if it did several roundups of more ordinary illegal workers at places where they gather. She said illegals know the government only goes after serious crimes and many stay hidden that way.
"It's like saying you're a little bit pregnant," she said. "You're either illegal or you're not."
Also, something that's sure to frustrate Mrs. Thompson and those in favor of more deportations: The AP reports that "illegal immigrants who lose their appeals to stay usually are sent home on a plane. (ICE spokeswoman Barbara) Gonzalez says that costs taxpayers up to $700 a flight."