Buncombe Co. sheriff says department won’t honor ICE detainers


BUNCOMBE Co., N.C. (WSPA) — A local sheriff says his department will not honor ICE detainers.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office won’t participate in or assist ICE raids, and deputies won’t gather information on people’s immigration status or citizenship,  Sheriff Quentin Miller said Tuesday. 

The announcement was made at a news conference.

“I understand that I will be attacked for this policy directive, maybe even by ICE. However, a detainer request is not a valid warrant… If ICE, the DHS or any law enforcement agency provides a valid criminal warrant that person will be handed over to that agency,” Miller said in a statement.

Miller said the department and Buncombe County Detention Center will honor criminal warrants signed by judicial officials.

The department will continue complying with state and federal laws, adding that making and enforcing immigration laws are not part of their law enforcement duties. 

“It is vital that members of our immigrant community can call the Sheriff’s Office without fear when they are in need of assistance from law enforcement. Our deputies are expected to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of the color of their skin or the language that they speak,” Sheriff Miller said.

ICE STATEMENT:Bryan D. Cox, Southern Region Communications Director (Spokesman) 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who are suspected of being deportable, so that ICE can take custody of that person when he or she is released from local custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.

Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as in jurisdictions that do not cooperate with ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations. 

A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that wouldn’t have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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