Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez cuts ties with ICE program

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas-- There might not be any snow in Houston, but ICE is melting!

It is no question the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's crackdown on illegal immigration is a controversial topic.

Amid rising concerns, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is opting out of a voluntary ICE enforcement program.

According to officials, the program allows ICE deputized agents working inside the jails to screen inmates.  Once an inmate's immigration status is determined, they can be deported, if necessary.

Harris County, along with 251 out of 254 Texas counties, has said no to the program.

It seems Harris County was a little late to the party, since the majority had already stopped using the voluntary program. "I think now we are aligning with what the majority of the county sheriff's are doing across the state" said Gonzalez.

Approximately ten ICE trained deputies are being reassigned to other policing duties. " Basically, ICE personnel will now handle the process as they deem appropriate," said Gonzales. "I just felt that with our other priorities such as jail overcrowding and overtime costs, it will be a better use of resources to redeploy those resources elsewhere."

The decision is not political, but rather financial, according to the sheriff.

The decision will free at least $675,000 in the budget said the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

All Houstonians can hope for is that the latest decision, means improved public safety!