Buncombe Co. Sheriff Won't Back Down From Refusal to Honor ICE Detainers

Apr 1, 2019

Buncombe County’s sheriff is standing by his decision to deny detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sheriff Quentin Miller’s position comes despite a GOP bill that received approval from a state House committee last week, which would require all sheriffs in North Carolina to carry out detainer requests from ICE. But the Buncombe County Sheriff’s office says Miller isn’t backing down from his position, which he announced in Feb.

“I think it’s right for us to make a stand, and I think it’s right for us to speak out now, and in addition to that, we cannot live in fear,” Miller said. 

During that press conference, Miller said that federal immigration law isn’t part of his departments’ duties. Detainer requests are holds placed on defendants to keep them in county jails for 48 hours on the belief they are in the country illegally, so ICE agents have time to take them into custody. 

Immigrant rights advocates say such tactics have an adverse effect on public safety, by discouraging immigrants who are victims of crime from reporting incidents to local law enforcement.  A full floor vote in the state house of representatives on the bill mandating ICE co-operation has yet to be scheduled.