SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 1, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder says when it comes to executive orders on immigration enforcement, Donald Trump is, “All hat and no cattle.”
Winder made the comment during a Wednesday press conference in which he tried to calm what he said were growing community fears that immigration enforcement might be carried out in Utah through local law enforcement agencies.
“In the state of Utah, state officers cannot enforce immigration under current statues,” Winder said. “The federal government, whether it’s a Democratic administration or a Republican administration, cannot tell local law enforcement officers — state, county or city — to enforce U.S. immigration. Both Arizona and Utah passed laws at the state level and both were repealed and do not exist.”
The only instance in which local law enforcement interacts with the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency, Winder said, is in the event an undocumented alien is arrested and charged with another crime.
Once in custody, suspects are asked to identify their immigration status. Names of those who are determined to be in violation of U.S. immigration laws are turned over to ICE agents, who can then ask that those arrested be held by local authorities for up 48 hours after their state cases are adjudicated.
It’s a policy that Winder says the Salt Lake County Jail steadfastly adheres to.
According to Winder, ICE’s resources are severely strained, and in many cases the agency fails to respond to notifications about illegal immigrants being held in local lock-ups.
“If the president is to substantially change how we are doing immigration in this country it will take money, large amounts of money, that will have to be appropriated by Congress and the Senate,” Winder said.
“The president is asking for 15 thousand new ICE agents. He asking for a ton of stuff, but it doesn’t substantially change a single thing with immigration in this county.”
Winder also pointed out that not one municipality in the state of Utah has designated itself a so-called sanctuary city. He did say, however, that under Trump’s Executive Order Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, the attorney general could, at his own discretion, designate municipalities as sanctuary cities if their jails fail to comply with existing policy.
“They’re creating a naughty list,” Winder said. “A naughty list is made up of jurisdictions who fail to cooperate in their jails. If a jail refuses to honor an immigration detain or hold request, the attorney general is notified and the jurisdiction could lose federal funding.”
But as for the Feds forcing local law agencies to carry out immigration enforcement, Winder says it won’t happen in Utah.
“Citizens of our county have no reason to fear that agencies of any stripe will come and hunt them down,” he said.
“As a law enforcement officer, my job is to calm the fears of the people. Whether I’m a Trump supporter or not a Trump supporter, my job is to tell you what’s going on. I’ve got citizens calling me and they are scared. Part of public safety is to calm the fears of the population.”
To hear more of Winder’s comments, click on the video player above.