Feds cut NC sheriff's immigration database access

September 19, 2012 - 12:35 PM

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) — Immigration officials have blocked a North Carolina sheriff's access to the federal database used to check whether arrestees are in the country illegally.

The move comes after a two-year U.S. Department of Justice investigation determined that Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson illegally targeted and arrested Latinos without probable cause to boost deportations. Johnson has been a vocal supporter of a federal program that trained local law enforcement officers to perform immigration checks.

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday the 287(g) program contract with Alamance County had been terminated, effective immediately. The two-year contract had been set to expire in October.

Federal authorities will now check the immigration status of those booked at the county jail, with an emphasis on deporting only those accused of serious crimes.