Updated: 11:10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 | Posted: 11:09 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007
Mecklenburg Sheriff Wants To Build Detention Center For Federal Prisoners
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A proposed 1,500-bed detention center for illegal immigrants being deported and other federal prisoners could ease the crowding in the county jail, the Mecklenburg County sheriff said.
The county Board of Commissioners authorized the sheriff on Tuesday to talk to federal officials about the funding for a detention center. The facility could be ready for use in less than two years and serve the South and Mid-Atlantic regions, said Sheriff Jim Pendergraph.
The sheriff said he and Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., have lobbied federal officials for the detention facility. Pendergraph said he received this month a letter of intent from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"They're so short on space, they would even bring prisoners from as far as New York," Pendergraph said.
Five months ago, the U.S. Justice Department said it would open an immigration court in Charlotte in 2008.