Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is a well-known poster boy for the 287(g) program. He has been trotted out by the FIRE Coalition, a group which builds grassroots support for the Tanton Network. Johnson has been a speaker for the FIRE Coalition at three separate events: one in Rock Hill, SC; Hamilton, OH; and Topeka, KS. At the event in South Carolina, a “National Security Conference” co-sponsored by the American Legion (and held at American Legion Post 34), Johnson went on an anti-Hispanic rant that exceeded beyond his purview as the county’s chief law enforcement officer.
Click here to watch Johnson’s speech.
Click here to watch a video about the Justice Department’s investigation.
Johnson’s rise in the Tanton Network is clear to anyone watching. He has supported “attrition through enforcement” policies alongside Representative Daryl Metcalfe, founder of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI); infamous Rep. Tom Tancredo (3rd from left, above), founder of the Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC); Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (2nd from left, above), lead counsel for the Tanton-founded Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI); and Roan García-Quintana, board member for the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC).
At the Dec. 7 meeting of the select committee on the state’s role in immigration policy in the North Carolina legislature, Johnson doggedly defended the 287(g) program, refuting any criticism that the program led to racial profiling. What none of the committee members brought up was that Johnson’s department is being investigated by the Department of Justice for racial profiling. Furthermore, Johnson was slapped with a lawsuit last year after allegedly intimidating his employees from speaking with DOJ investigators. Johnson claimed that the DOJ investigation violated his “right to free speech.” The Center for Immigration Studies flew to Johnson’s aid once the news of the lawsuit against Alamance County broke.
A group of activists called Fairness Alamance has formed to take on racial profiling and other problems facing immigrants in Alamance County, including a new policy being considered by the county board of commissioners that would require parents to present photo IDs when they enroll their children. Due to the obvious strength of anti-immigrant sentiment in Alamance, the motivations of the policy are worth calling into question. Last year, Representative Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth), who is a member of SLLI, pushed for a requirement at the state level that would require parents to reveal the immigration status of their children, similarly attempting to discourage the enrollment of undocumented students.