In a press conference on Feb. 26, 2019, Sheriff Miller delivered the following statement.
Effective immediately, it is the policy of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Buncombe County Detention Center that ICE detainers will not be honored.
The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office will continue our policy of not participating or assisting in ICE raids and our deputies will not gather information based on any individual’s immigration status or ask about their citizenship. The Sheriff’s Office has been operating without a 287G agreement in place for many years and Buncombe County has a low crime-rate and a good quality of life. The policy directive announced today is a continuation of that.
The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Detention Center WILL honor criminal warrants that have been signed by a judicial official. I understand that I will be attacked for this policy directive, maybe even by ICE. However, a detainer request is not a valid warrant. Again, if ICE, the FBI, the DHS or any law enforcement agency provides a valid criminal warrant that person will be handed over to that agency.
Sheriff McFadden has been falsely attacked for releasing inmates that are deemed dangerous to the community. This is not true, but the public must understand that it is our judicial system that makes decisions on bond amounts and who provides the verdict of who is guilty and who is innocent. The judicial system decides to release someone, we simply follow those directives.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to comply with all applicable state and federal laws, however, we do not make or enforce immigration laws, that is not part of our law enforcement duties.
It is vital that members of our immigrant community can call the Sheriff’s Office without fear when they are in need of assistance from law enforcement. Our deputies are expected to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of the color of their skin or the language that they speak.