Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright is not happy with another sheriff’s decision to not work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.
The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office announced a new policy Tuesday on how it interacts with ICE. Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller said the county will no longer hold inmates for ICE who may be in the U.S. without papers. Deputies also won’t help ICE in raids and will not gather info on people’s immigration status or citizenship, according to the sheriff.
“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,” Miller said.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said he’s disappointed in Buncombe County’s new stance.
“We have an obligation to help ICE because they’re spread thin obviously, but they’re the good guys,” Wright said.
Miller said enforcing immigration laws is not his deputies’ job. He said they will only arrest someone if there is a criminal warrant for their arrest. Miller said he does not consider ICE’s requests to hold a suspect for them to be a valid criminal warrant.
On the flip side, Wright said the Spartanburg County jail will call ICE if they think someone they’ve arrested for a crime may be in the U.S. without documents.
“A lot of the times we arrest these people that are illegal criminals, and they give three or four different names,” Wright said. “They steal your identity. They’ve done it alot.”
He said the jail will hold suspects for up to 48 extra hours for ICE officials to determine their citizenship status. If they’re found to be here without papers, the deportation process begins.
Sheriff Wright said the detention center makes calls to ICE on a weekly basis to ask about inmates’ immigration statuses. He said he’s not sure how many of those people are found to be undocumented and subsequently deported.