CREST HAVEN - The County of Cape May has been in the news lately related to its support for the 287(G) program.
According to a release, the county will address its next steps in due time but currently believes it is important to explain why the county supports working with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in its current form.
This program has a narrow scope and only involves individuals who end up in the Cape May County Correctional Facility.
The Cape May County Sheriff’s Office does not -- and will not -- be sending any officers into the community to look for undocumented individuals. There is one individual in the county correctional facility currently on a detainer who was charged with aggravated sexual assault on a minor and endangering the welfare of a child.
If the county were to sever its ties with the 287(G) program, an individual such as this could end up back on the streets of Cape May County following his or her prison term.
The Cape May County Sheriff, with the support of the freeholder board, cannot accept this outcome.
“I was given the greatest honor of my professional life when the voters of Cape May County chose me in an election to become the current sheriff,” stated Sheriff Robert Nolan. “I have sworn an oath to protect the people of this county. The 287(G) helps keep criminals from returning to our streets, which keeps Cape May County safer.”
It is important to remember that a very small number of individuals have been deported as it relates to 287(G).
Only four individuals have been deported since the agreement with ICE took effect in October 2017.
Charges for those individuals ranged from possession of CDS/possession of a handgun/possession of hollow-point bullets, criminal mischief/burglary, false documents/hindering prosecution, and two counts of contempt.
“We fully support Sheriff Robert Nolan the same way we supported the previous Sheriff Gary Schaffer who introduced the program,” stated Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “Cape May County does not want to be a sanctuary county.”