Florida Sheriffs denounce weekly immigration list

The Florida Sheriffs Association on Tuesday denounced a weekly list publicizing agencies the federal government says are not cooperating with immigration orders. The lawmen asked for more cooperation from the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS’s unwillingness to work with local sheriffs in following the U.S. Constitution to enforce the law is “disheartening,” said Orange County Sheriff and FSA President Jerry Demings.

The list was created by President Donald Trump in a Jan. 25 executive order. It directed DHS to begin publishing a weekly list of “any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor” detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sheriff’s offices, which run the county jails in Florida, are following the law in not keeping people with immigration issues incarcerated when there is no federal court order to hold them, said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri in a news release.

Courts and laws prohibit sheriff’s offices from holding people with only detainer orders, association officials said.

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When an inmate is scheduled for release, jail staff checks for any immigration holds. Inmates are held if there is a signed order from a judge. If there is only a detainer request, ICE is contacted and alerted of the inmate’s anticipated release date.

Instead of labeling a department as uncooperative, the variance needs to be addressed immediately, Demings said.

“We support and cooperate with ICE in their efforts to identify and deport criminal aliens,” Demings said. “However, we also swear under oath to protect, support, and defend the U.S. Constitution.

By Karl Etters for TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT
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