CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael Thursday defended the department’s involvement in a federal program to determine if people are in this country legally.

“I’m here to clarify our role and hopefully dispel the rumors about what we do,” Carmichael said at a news conference at the jail.

He is talking about the federal program known as 287-G. Under the program anyone arrested and brought to the jail is put through a background check in conjunction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine if they are in the country legally.

Captain Daniel Stitt of the Sheriff’s Department said when the background checks are run, “We can tell the history, the criminal history, the gang affiliation, stuff that traditionally we wouldn’t have had access to.”

But the Sheriff added, the final decision to deport someone is made by ICE.

“We do not make decisions on who gets deported,” said Carmichael.

Earlier this week, some 200 protestors shut down a Charlotte City Council meeting with cries of, “No more ICE!”

The protestors demanded Mayor Jennifer Roberts take a stand against the 287-G program, and last month, thousands of people marched through uptown in support of immigrants’ rights.

Social media reports have claimed Sheriff’s deputies and CMPD officers participated with ICE in a crackdown on undocumented immigrants in Charlotte.

Sheriff Carmichael says no deputies were involved.

“We have not and do not conduct any type of immigration enforcement outside of our facility,” he said.

The Sheriff did not take any questions from reporters.