Friday, January 27, 2017

Is Mesa County a Sanctuary County?

MESA COUNTY, Colo - What is a Sanctuary City or County and is Mesa County one of them? We've heard this question asked a lot lately, so here are a few facts regarding the Mesa County Sheriff's Office policies. 

The term "Sanctuary County” implies that the Mesa County Sheriff's Office does not share information with or allow Immigration Customs Enforcement or ICE to house arrestee’s in our facility. Both of these assertions are false.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office revised our policy in response to a 2014 federal court opinion out of Oregon. The case is Maria Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County (Case No. 3:12-cv-02317-ST) and involved an inmate being held on an ICE issued detainer beyond the time she should have been released from jail on the criminal charges she had been booked on. The court in this case ruled holding the inmate in custody was a violation of the inmate’s 4th Amendment Rights because the detainer was not signed by a judge.

This case prompted many Sheriff’s around the country to change their procedures and hold ICE to the same constitutional standard that every other state and federal agency is required to meet. This change would necessitate ICE to have their detainers be reviewed and approved by a judge.

In Mesa County we work very hard to ensure there is good communication between ICE and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Our policy requires notification to ICE when a person is booked into our jail if they were foreign born and provides a system of notification prior to release from jail that enables ICE to conduct an investigation if they choose.

This policy does not establish Mesa County as a sanctuary at all but provides specific instruction on how the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has and will continue to work with ICE. We have and would accept any arrestee brought with an order signed by a judge.