Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado was elected in 2016, nearly a decade after the Sheriff’s Office entered into its first 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Although he had nothing to do with the county’s initial decision to be part of the program, he’s come to see its value and says he supports keeping the program.
He signed a 12-month extension of the 287(g) program May 10. The program uses local law enforcement to identify and process undocumented immigrants for deportation proceedings.
Regalado said he could not speak to how 287(g) programs work in other communities, but the Tulsa County program is intended to help keep the local community safe.
“When you take a step back and look at the facts surrounding the 287(g) program, it boils down to that it is about the criminal element,” Regalado said, “and about those individuals that are committing crimes that affect our streets, our society, in particular here in Tulsa.
“It is not comprised of individuals who simply have committed minor traffic offenses but who are otherwise productive individuals and citizens of Tulsa. That’s just not factually correct.”
Regalado said all communities agree about the importance of public safety, but unfortunately, the 287(g) program has become part of the broader national discussion regarding the crisis at the border and the country’s overall immigration policy.
“And it should not be,” he said. “Those are separate things that require separate thought processes and problem-solving techniques.”