Are Sanctuary Sheriffs Breaking State Law with Anti-ICE Policies?

RALEIGH – That seems to be the case based on a careful reading of North Carolina General Statutes, as pointed out by the  Leicester Leader. Up in Buncombe County, Sheriff Quentin Miller is promising to not cooperate with federal immigration authorities when it comes to detaining illegal aliens that have committed other crimes. He claims that it is not their duty to enforce federal immigration laws, but state law raises some questions in that regard.

From the Leader:

“Is that true, or is Sheriff Miller breaking NC state laws with this new policy?

The Leader looked at NC State Statue 153A-145.5 which says, “No county may have in effect any policy, ordinance, or procedure that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law. (b) No county shall do any of the following related to information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual: (1) Prohibit law enforcement officials or agencies from gathering such information. (2) Direct law enforcement officials or agencies not to gather such information. (3) Prohibit the communication of such information to federal law enforcement agencies. (2015-294, s. 15(a).)

Can Sheriff Miller legally order his deputies to not ask someone about their citizenship?

According to NC State Statue 162‑62 if the person is a prisoner the law says, “When any person charged with a felony or an impaired driving offense is confined for any period in a county jail, local confinement facility, district confinement facility, or satellite jail/work release unit, the administrator or other person in charge of the facility shall attempt to determine if the prisoner is a legal resident of the United States by an inquiry of the prisoner, or by examination of any relevant documents, or both.

“(b) If the administrator or other person in charge of the facility is unable to determine if that prisoner is a legal resident or citizen of the United States or its territories, the administrator or other person in charge of the facility holding the prisoner, where possible, shall make a query of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States Department of Homeland Security. If the prisoner has not been lawfully admitted to the United States, the United States Department of Homeland Security will have been notified of the prisoner’s status and confinement at the facility by its receipt of the query from the facility.

“(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to deny bond to a prisoner or to prevent a prisoner from being released from confinement when that prisoner is otherwise eligible for release.” […]”

So are policies to not cooperate with ICE consistent with these laws? Read more about why these Sanctuary Sheriffs are so problematic, and possibly bucking state law, at the Leicester Leader.

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