Buncombe Co. Sheriff Miller to Speak Out Against Detainer Bill

Jun 19, 2019

Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller will join two other sheriffs in Raleigh Wed. to denounce legislation that would force all North Carolina Sheriffs to assist federal immigration agents. 

Credit North Carolina Sheriff's Association

Sheriff Miller, Mecklenberg County Sheriff Gary McFadden, and Wake County Sheriff  Gerald Baker stand diametrically opposed to House Bill 370. The measure would require sheriffs in all 100 counties to fulfill detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The detainers from ICE are orders to hold individuals in detention facilities -- who would otherwise be released -- if federal agents say they might be in the country unlawfully.

The sheriffs plan to speak at a Legislative Building news conference on Wed. before a Senate committee debates and votes on the bill.

"If ICE comes into our community and creates division and mistrust when we need cooperation and mutual understanding between our immigrant and minority communities and local law enforcement then we are all worse off for it," Sheriff Miller said in a statement last week.

The three recently elected sheriffs announced they wouldn't comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for people charged with state crimes, saying it's not in the best interest of community safety and may be unconstitutional

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Western North Carolina, has ruled that local law enforcement lacks the authority to detain anyone without a warrant signed by a judge. That means county governments and sheriffs departments that participate in ICE detainers are potentially liable to be sued for violating the Fourth Amendment. 

House legislation forcing sheriffs to fulfill those requests was changed in the Senate, to require orders from judges or magistrates. These sheriffs remain opposed to other aspects of the bill.