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Griffin to renew ICE pact

Sheriff Lowell Griffin announced Thursday that he is renewing a contract with ICE. Sheriff Lowell Griffin announced Thursday that he is renewing a contract with ICE.

Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin announced Thursday that he plans to renew a contract to continue cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security through the 287(g) program. Griffin, who had said during the 2018 campaign for sheriff that he was not sure he would renew the ICE agreement, made the decision after numerous residents had appeared before the Board of Commissioners since January to express support for the program and after commissioners, last week, agreed to send a letter urging him to continue the program.

 

"Sheriff Griffin has determined the M.O.A. (memorandum of understanding) provides law enforcement necessary tools to identify and remove a criminal element that is present within our communities," the sheriff's office said in a news release.

At the same time, Griffin announced the creation of a a community liaison position "to facilitate communication between immigrant communities and local law enforcement" and ensure that Latino residents "feel safe in their ability to report crimes."

The 287(g) program allows for a law enforcement agency to enter into an agreement with ICE to quickly identify past encounters or records of an arrested criminal alien, the statement said. The process of placing an immigration detainer takes place only after a person has been arrested for a crime committed in Henderson County and is incarcerated in the Henderson County Detention Facility. No local law enforcement officer, including Henderson County sheriff’s deputies, has any authority to question or take enforcement action concerning any person’s immigration status outside of the walls of the detention facility.

The sheriff’s office is also developing strategies to facilitate communication with our immigrant community, which can often feel as if help from law enforcement is inaccessible due to both fear and language barriers.

One of these strategies will be to create a new position within the sheriff’s office for a community liaison. The liaison will serve to facilitate communication between immigrant communities and local law enforcement, and especially to help members of the community access help and resources provided by the sheriff’s office.

Victims should always feel safe in their ability to report crimes, regardless of their immigration status. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide exemplary service to all the people of Henderson County, and the new community liaison position will only broaden these services.