FULL VIDEO: Lubbock County Sheriff announces cooperation with ICE program

Published: Feb. 21, 2017 at 4:09 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2017 at 6:20 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Roe held a news conference on Tuesday to announce his cooperation with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement initiative.

Currently when a person detained at the Lubbock County Detention Center is believed to be an alien in the United States illegally, the Sheriff's Department has contacted ICE and been allowed to hold a person up to 72 hours after local, state, and federal charges are satisfied.

Under this new program, eight detention officers, two per 12-hour shift, will be allowed to conduct theses interviews and exercise immigration-related authority during the course of their normal duties.

LSO explained the program in a Tuesday morning press release:

"These personnel will identify and process for removal, aliens in LCDC who fall within ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities and will have the power and authority to interview those in LCDC custody believed to be an alien and in the United States illegally. Officers can also advise about his or her right to remain in the United States, serve warrants of arrest for immigration violations, take and consider evidence to complete the required alien processing, prepare charging documents, detain and transport.  All ICE activities conducted by participating LSO personnel will be supervised and directed by ICE supervisory officers in accordance with established ICE policies."

Sheriff Rowe said, "It authorizes local jail staff to interview individuals coming in that have already been arrested on an unrelated charge...and have been lawfully committed into the jail facility, for them to review their records, if there's been any indication during the course of the arrest process...that the individual may not have legal status in the United States that they can therefore go through utilizing Immigration's database systems...to properly identify, and if an individual is identified as not having the appropriate legal status they can place the appropriate holds so that ICE can take care of the situation once the individual has satisfied any local, state, or federal charges."

Lubbock County Democrats expressed their opposition to this program on Tuesday, saying:

"Sheriff Rowe's jailhouse partnership with ICE threatens to diminish our community's trust in law enforcement.

"We cannot allow our community to think twice about calling 911 to report crimes especially in a city where we have a large student population.

"Every law enforcement entity that transports folks to the Lubbock County Detention Center are now willfully cooperating with ICE.

"Sheriff Rowe should allow each law enforcement agency and local municipality to decide whether their transports should be subject to this controversial new LSO policy that affects the City of Lubbock Police Department, Lubbock ISD Police, Texas Tech Police Department, City of Wolfforth Police Department and others – just to name a few."

Sheriff Rowe said this process only applies to those who have been assigned to the detention center and will not affect law enforcement activities outside of the detention center.

So is the sheriff concerned that this policy will make victims of crime reluctant to call 911?

Rowe said, "Absolutely not. We haven't seen any credible cases of that. When officers respond to a call for service...we are not asking those types of questions, we are not looking for those types of things."

Rowe said people don't need to fear that officers will "shift gears" over to immigration enforcement if they contact law enforcement.

He said, "That's not part of policy, that's not part of our standard procedure, nor does it ever happen."

Rowe went on to say "The individuals that are going to have the potential to come into contact with with this program are individuals that are being arrested and would've been arrested under whatever normal circumstances that brought them into contact with law enforcement. This is nothing about putting together squads or a force of individuals that are going to deal with immigration enforcement, job site inspections and those types of things, that has absolutely no part to play in the conversation we're having here today."

Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.