HOUSTON (AP) — The sheriff of Harris County says he intends to end a partnership with federal immigration officials that had county jailers identify inmates who are in the country illegally and detain them for possible deportation.

Sheriff's officials said in a statement Wednesday that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a day earlier of his plans.

Gonzalez told the Houston Chronicle that his decision was not motivated by politics but instead by the need to have ICE-trained deputies focus on other concerns, such as staff shortages at the overcrowded county jail that has led overtime costs to soar.

ICE officials will still screen inmates to determine their immigration status.

As Harris County decides to opt out of the ICE program, Tarrant County recently indicated it will train its jailers in order to join.


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