Gaston County Possible Jail Location For Illegal Immigrants
For most counties, locking up and detaining illegal Immigrants gets to be a tall order.
It's something Jim Pendergraph learned as sheriff in Mecklenburg County.
“There's no doubt in my mind that our jail space is one of the biggest issues that we have to deal with,” Pendergraph said.
Right now, when deputies turn in illegal immigrants--they have to wait in county jails until being transferred to federal facilities in Georgia.
But Pendergraph and Congresswoman Sue Myrick want to see a new jail closer to home.
“That would be a tremendous help to us and the counties because they'd be picked up quicker and it wouldn't fill up the local jails as it is now,” Pendergraph said.
Myrick says Mecklenburg County was her first location of choice but, “Part of the challenge in Mecklenburg is the sheriff's situation which isn't decided and they said it may be before the end of February and that's too long to wait,” said Myrick
“This detention facility is just not on their front burner. Gaston County is very receptive to it," Pendergraph said.
Now all eyes are on Gaston County and the clock is ticking. They would be entering into an agreement with the federal government, who would lease the space.
And while Myrick says the Bush Administration is interested -- a new regime may not be.
“My concern is time. We have a very limited window, which means the end of the year because they'll be a new administration in the white house next year. So we need to move quickly,” Myrick said.