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Carbon seeks certification to hold illegal immigrants

Published July 29. 2010 05:00PM

Carbon County officials want to help local police departments by becoming certified to hold illegal immigrants until Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials could arrive.

During the monthly meeting of the county prison board, officials discussed an e-mail they received, notifying them that Carbon County Correctional Facility is no longer able to accept illegal immigrants before they are detained by ICE.

"We were notified by the federal government (a few months ago) that we were not certified to accept illegal immigrants and keep them here," Commissioner William O'Gurek said. "That means if a local police department has to transport someone that they detained, it has to be to Scranton. We've been hearing from local police departments and their supervisors and mayors about the cost involved in making that transport, taking police out of the communities and we would like to make things easier for the towns and police departments by accepting those detainees until ICE would come and pick them up."

He asked if the prison could look into the matter and see if the county could become certified to hold illegal immigrants short-term.

Acting Warden Timothy Fritz added that not being able to accept these individuals creates a major problem for area municipalities.

"Our boroughs here are small and some have only one police officer working so that takes that person away to have to drive them to Scranton," He said. "Then they're (the borough) stuck with no protection until the officer gets back."

Mary Fairchild, administrative assistant, said the county never had a problem accepting illegals for ICE in the past.

She added that she will discuss the matter in further detail with ICE officials and report back to the board.

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