New rules in works af­ter jailer ac­cused of be­ing in U.S. il­le­gally

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE -

DAL­LAS — Maria Elvia Ross was a Dal­las County jail guard as­signed to the sher­iff depart­ment’s qual­ity as­sur­ance team, con­sid­ered an elite unit within the jails. She also, al­legedly, is an il­le­gal im­mi­grant.

Ross, who re­signed Tues­day, now faces de­por­ta­tion, and Dal­las County of­fi­cials say they are writ­ing new poli­cies to make sure there are pe­ri­odic checks of the le­gal sta­tus of non-U.S. cit­i­zens work­ing as jailers and deputies for the sher­iff’s depart­ment.

The pol­icy change is in re­sponse to Ross’ ar­rest Fri­day. The 34-year-old Irv­ing res­i­dent was ar­rested by U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment of­fi­cers on civil im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tions. She was re­leased the same day. A court hear­ing has not been sched­uled.

No one an­swered the door at her home Tues­day, and The As­so­ci­ated Press could not find a cur­rent phone num­ber.

Ross was de­ported from the United States in 1998, ICE spokesman Carl Rus­nok said Tues­day. But by 2001, Ross had a tem­po­rary work per­mit, and the county hired her, said Mat­tye Mauld­inTay­lor, Dal­las County’s hu­man re­sources di­rec­tor. That was two years be­fore a rule took ef­fect re­quir­ing deputies and jail guards to be U.S. cit­i­zens, ac­cord­ing to a story Tues­day in The Dal­las Morn­ing News.

Ross pro­vided the sher­iff’s depart­ment with doc­u­ments show­ing she was el­i­gi­ble to work in the United States each year un­til 2005. No one checked for ad­di­tional doc­u­men­ta­tion in sub­se­quent years, Mauldin-Tay­lor said.

“There’s not re­ally any fol­low-up once they pro­duce the doc­u­men­ta­tion” when ap­ply­ing for a job, Mauldin-Tay­lor said.

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