The agency on Friday announced it has been approved to participate in the Secure Communities program, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiative to identify and remove criminal aliens.
When the program comes online in mid-November, the fingerprints of every person booked into the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center automatically will be compared against the databases of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI.
If someone enters the county jail who is wanted by ICE, an agent will contact a deputy at the jail to place a "hold" on the individual.
The sheriff's office already notifies ICE about known illegal immigrants in the jail, but this program expands that relationship through the use of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and federal databases.
"We are pleased to be participating in this program and will aggressively pursue all efforts to identify and remove persons who are in this country illegally and have them removed in accordance with all state and federal laws," Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison said.
The agency still is waiting for approval for another program to address illegal immigration: the federal 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act.
Sheriff's office Public Information Officer Lt. Jay Baker said on Friday the application still is "pending."
The sheriff in November 2008 applied for the program, which trains deputies to aid in immigration enforcement.
The program trains and authorizes local law enforcement officers to identify, process and detain immigration offenders. Agencies approved for the program also receive funding to jail detainees.
In the application, training is requested for nine sheriff's office deputies.