Think Tank Calls Hernando, Pasco Sanctuaries for Illegal Immigrants, Sheriffs Speak Out
REGIONAL – The most controversial and hotly contested issue that was probably instrumental in helping Donald Trump win the Presidential Election is his tough stance on strengthening our borders, enforcing federal laws on immigration, and punishing jurisdictions that are deemed sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.
On Wednesday President Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal monies from those jurisdictions that do not enforce immigration laws. One of the main problems, according to the Trump administration, is when local law enforcement agencies disregard “detainer requests.” Detainers are used when illegal immigrants are jailed for alleged crimes and then held at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But many jurisdictions ignore these requests and allow illegal immigrant go free.
San Francisco, New York City, Chicago are just a few jurisdiction listed that disobey federal law and are now facing the loss of federal funding if they do not comply. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel openly defies the President’s proclamation and was recently quoted as saying “We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. Wherever you came from, you are welcome here.”
Hernando and Pasco Counties have recently come under fire for being among seven Florida Counties that are deemed Sanctuaries. According to The Center for Immigration Studies, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization, and Think Tank (Non-Federal Government) Hernando and Pasco Counties do not honor ICE Detainer requests. Broward, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, and Pinellas Counties round off the remaining counties accused of violating federal law.
Sheriff Nienhuis disputes these claims and in a recent statement said “As the Sheriff, I would like to take this time to put to rest any notion that Hernando County is a Sanctuary County… Hernando County is NOT one of those places.” Nienhuis further explains, “Unfortunately, the Federal Government is occasionally wrong and asks us to violate the rights of legal U.S. Citizens by holding someone without the necessary paperwork. This often results in local taxpayers having to pay large monetary awards. I refuse to knowingly hold a person without the appropriate documentation.”
Ironically, Nienhuis is a staunch supporter of the President’s policy to enforce immigration laws and says “I adamantly opposed the concept of sanctuary cities and will do everything legally and ethically to assist the Federal Government in detaining and deporting those who have entered the country illegally.” But he is offended by the notion that the CIS has added Hernando County to the list and says “Unequivocally, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and the Detention Center, which falls under the direction of the elected, accountable Sheriff, outright rejects the contention that this county is a locale which indirectly violates that rights of law abiding citizens by offering undue refuge to those inside this country illegally. Immigration, at the core, is a national problem.”
Nienhuis says there needs to be “…cooperation and communication from the federal government in order to better tackle this problem. We also require probable cause in order to hold suspected illegals. We cannot simply detain suspected illegals on the basis of what courts have determined to be equivalent to a rumor. “
In a statement, the Sheriff explains that Form I-247 detainer request, which is likely involved in the misapplied designation of Sanctuary County, is not supported by sworn probable cause in its underlying request to detain an individual. This form is routinely used by immigration authorities as a means to request detention of a person.
Nienhuis praises the President’s recent decision and says “Given the President’s announcement, we suspect that long overdue support is coming,” referring to better communication and cooperation by ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco also spoke out against the organization’s claim and said in a recent statement, “This is yet another DC group who puts out false information without understanding our local community.” He further states, “The Center for Immigration Studies has released a false finding claiming Pasco and many other Florida counties including Hillsborough and Pinellas are “Sanctuary Cities”. This false statement is absurd. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office has proven we will enforce the laws of the land and will uphold the Constitution; it is a solemn obligation that we take seriously.”
Compared to other cities around the country that overtly violate the law, Nocco says “Pasco is clearly not a sanctuary city. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office cooperates to the full extent of the law with federal authorities.” Nocco echoes Sheriff Nienhuis’ sentiments on following the U.S. Constitution, by stating “The Sheriff’s Office policy that all detentions must be based on probable cause is based on constitutional principles annunciated by numerous federal courts.” Nocco explains “federal courts have ruled that suspected illegal immigrants cannot be held unless there is probable cause in keeping with the Fourth Amendment.”
Nocco says “The suggestion by CIS to the contrary is irresponsible and dangerous. Citizens are urged to inform themselves and not believe the slanted positions of advocacy groups that are only focused on furthering their own agenda.”
In addition to President Trump’s sanctuary city crackdown, Trump also signed legislations to “build the wall,” and has ordered a 90-day moratorium any non-citizen entering the United States from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
Follow this link to the CIS website and information on Tackling Sanctuaries.
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