Bob Gualtieri 'very frustrated' by federal foot-dragging on undocumented immigrants – Florida Politics (blog)
Bob Gualtieri is growing frustrated with the federal government’s slow progress on illegal immigration.
After the Pinellas County Sheriff spent months working with members of the Trump administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security on a plan that would allow sheriff departments to detain undocumented immigrants legally for deportation, Gualtieri says no program has yet been implemented.
On his fifth day in office, President Donald Trump released an executive order to support immigration enforcement and punish local governments that don’t comply with federal authorities. In April, that order was frozen by a federal judge.
Federal officials must rely on local police to help enforce federal immigration laws, but the law doesn’t require local authorities to detain illegal immigrants just because their federal counterparts make a request.
In fact, federal courts across the country have found compliance with such requests is voluntary. That results in many sheriff departments declining to work with the Trump administration, which is focusing on removing undocumented immigrants with a criminal background.
Congress would be the best entity to change the law, Gualtieri says, but that’s not likely with the current dysfunction in D.C., especially in dealing with immigration. So after meeting with the acting director of the Department of Homeland Security in March, the Sheriff began working on behalf of the National Sheriffs Association and the Major County Sheriffs of America to try to come up with a consensus-based remedy. In the interim, Trump officials accused individual local law enforcement agencies of being “sanctuary” cities or counties.
Gualtieri says that isn’t the case.
In a presentation to the National Sheriffs’ Association during its annual convention in June, Gualtieri offered a proposal that would have local sheriff heads sign a contract for ICE to pay a daily fee to sheriff’s departments for holding an immigrant until federal immigration agents can take the person