Collier County sees spike in ICE arrests

NAPLES, Fla. Illegal immigration has quickly become a major debate in Collier County.

Michael Raheb, a Fort Myers-based criminal attorney, said he has seen five to ten times more people detained under the Trump Administration than any previous year.

“It might be something minor,” he said. “That person is gonna be detained, probably go down to Krome (Service Processing Center) and face immediate deportation.”

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has placed 346 detainers on immigrants in the county during this year alone, as opposed to 312 in 2016.

Raheb’s clients in Collier County present a unique challenge because of the 287(g) program, an ICE initiative that allows investigators to check the residency status of a suspect.

“It’s a big challenge for the client,” he said. “Say you’re a hard working Joe and you’re going to work in the morning. You get pulled over and don’t have a license, you’re not going home.”

The 287(g) program started in 2008. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office one of only two Florida law enforcement agencies contracted with ICE.

Raheb believes the sheriff’s office is cracking down more than ever and the decision to enforce the program comes to down to simple logistics.

“If this was a different county, I don’t think they could pursue this policy,” he said. “It’s just because the number of arrests here is so small, they can do it.”

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