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Florida Sheriffs Respond to ICE Detainer Issue and Request Greater Cooperation from DHS

April 04, 2017

Today, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) weighed in on immigration enforcement. FSA challenged a weekly list published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of sheriffs’ offices who are not cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Florida Sheriffs expressed frustration with DHS’ unwillingness to work with local sheriffs within the constraints of federal case law to ensure our nation’s laws are being legally enforced.

At the heart of the problem is ICE’s detainer and civil arrest forms. The courts and statutory law prohibit sheriffs from keeping people in jail based only on receipt of these forms. ICE wants the sheriffs to comply with these detainers and civil arrest forms when we cannot lawfully do so. Failure to comply with these ICE requests improperly results in a sheriff being labeled by DHS as non-cooperative.

“This is a very disheartening problem that needs to be handled immediately,” said Sheriff Jerry Demings, FSA President and Sheriff of Orange County. “We support and cooperate with ICE in their efforts to identify and deport criminal aliens. However, we also swear under oath to protect, support, and defend the U. S. Constitution. We are here to serve our communities and our country, and are simply asking for enhanced information sharing between federal, state, and local law enforcement regarding illegal immigrants.”

We join sheriffs’ offices from other states in denouncing DHS lists of non-cooperating agencies. We ask for greater cooperation from DHS as well as a meaningful partnership between federal and local law enforcement.

“Regardless of what agency is on that list, we know that we’re obeying the law,” said FSA Legislative Chair and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “That is why we’re concerned with the issue at large. We must work together to determine the best way to move forward, put aside our differences, and determine what is right for every community in America.”

As a result of recent cases, the FSA has included information regarding the legal effect of an ICE detainer and the issues confronting sheriffs as a result of these detainers. Inquiries concerning the information can be directed to the Sheriff’s legal advisor or, for further issues, Wayne Evans, General Counsel for the FSA, at revans@anblaw.com or (850) 561-3503. For the full legal alert, visit flsheriffs.org/uploads/docs/Legal_Alert_-_ICE_Detainers2.pdf.

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The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of Florida’s Sheriffs, approximately 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has quietly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law-enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA both established and continues to fund the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. The Florida Sheriffs Association has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit http://www.flsheriffs.org.

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