Henderson County’s decision to renew an agreement with federal immigration authorities puts government officials at risk of being sued under the fourth amendment. That was the message immigrant rights advocates brought to the county commissioner’s meeting Mon.
At issue is the sheriff’s decision to continue honoring detainer requests in the Henderson County detention facility. In at least seven federal court rulings, individuals have successfully sued on the basis of being detained without probable cause, which is unconstitutional.
Immigration attorney George Pappas says the county is at risk of being sued under the Tort Claims Act.
“Virtually every federal court has knocked this down. I urge you to put the brakes on the money and not violate the rule of law in Henderson County,” Pappas said.
Sheriff Lowell Griffin says he isn’t worried about the possibility of being sued. He says the 4th Circuit Court, which covers Henderson County, has upheld 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Until this is taken up to the Supreme Court, and somebody makes a decision, we’re governed by the 4th circuit,” Griffin said. “Some of these folks are out there cherry picking decisions from other circuits around the country, and that doesn’t give you the full picture.”
Henderson County is one of four North Carolina counties that participate in 287(g) and the only one in the western part of the state. Sheriff Griffin says the jail houses about 50-60 individuals annually under detainer requests issued by ICE. He adds he’s requesting a new administrative position to process those requests in the detention facility.