Committee formed to study cost of illegal immigrants

Published 4:38 pm Wednesday, April 9, 2008

By Staff
May be defended pro-bono if sued by Civil Liberties Union
Washington Daily News Staff
Beaufort County commissioners voted 4-3 Monday night to form a committee to determine local costs of illegal immigrants.
The vote was split on party lines.
The committee will consist of three commissioners — Republicans Stan Deatherage, Al Klemm and Hood Richardson — four members of the Beaufort County Board of Education and one member from each entitlement service involved with the issue.
Klemm agreed, but said it would be more instructive to establish a range of costs.
In other business, but still in the illegal-immigration arena, the board opted to study the establishment of an Immigrant and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Retention Center in Beaufort County as it studies the option of building a new county jail. The proposal was brought up by Deatherage during his reserved portion of the agenda.
Klemm said the county needs to think about taking part in a large, regional ICE facility.
Deatherage said it appears federal government officials are going to work with local constituencies when it comes to immigration issues.
Some of the measures passed by the board aimed at curbing illegal immigration in the county have already drawn fire from state and federal agencies. Commissioners received a letter in March from a laundry list of civil-rights watchdog groups protesting the removal of Spanish-language options from county phone systems.
Deatherage mentioned Monday night that he had been contacted by Perry Pendley, a lawyer from New Mexico that has offered to defend the county pro-bono should the county “run afoul” of the American Civil Liberties Union.
No lawsuits have yet been filed by any of the letter’s signatory agencies, and the ACLU had no plans to file suit as of March, according to Katy Parker, legal director for the N.C. branch of the ACLU.