US Attorney Calls Out Buncombe County Sheriff for 'Sanctuary' Policy

Feb 11, 2020

The US Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina is condemning sheriffs -- including Buncombe County’s -- who choose not to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Andrew Murray, US Attorney Western District of North Carolina
Credit Cass Herrington / BPR News

The statement issued by US Attorney Andrew Murray comes on the same day the federal Justice Department announced it would sue so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

In Murray’s statement he says the sheriff’s refusal to honor ICE detainers “prioritizes the protection of criminal aliens above the safety and protection of our communities.” 

Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller has repeatedly spoken out against the agreement with ICE, saying federal immigration law is not the responsibility of local officers and damages law enforcement’s trust within the immigrant community.

On Mon, the Justice Department ratcheted up legal pressure on local governments over “sanctuary” policies that hinder federal immigration officers, bringing two new lawsuits and launching a coordinated messaging campaign to highlight an election-year priority of President Donald Trump.

Declaring that law enforcement officers are being “put in harm’s way by these ideologically driven policies,” Attorney General William Barr said the Trump administration is suing the state of New Jersey and the county that is home to Seattle over immigration policies that offer protections to immigrants in the U.S. illegally.