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Immigration and Proper Cooperation with ICE in Broward County

Immigration is a highly politicized topic in the popular media.  Debates about a border wall, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), sanctuary cities and the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have polarized the issue of what local role law enforcement officials should play.  As your Sheriff, the answer will be that we will enforce the law as it is written in Broward County and not overstep our role as county-level law enforcement officers. In other words, we will not begin to enforce federal law as a proxy for the Department of Homeland Security and ICE.  

Our fellow law enforcement agencies can, however, count on us for courteous cooperation within a reasonable understanding of the law as it is written.

Inter-Agency Cooperation

As fellow US law enforcement agencies, we will respect the authority and facilitate where needed the work of our federal counterparts.  This includes working with federal agencies including the FBI, Secret Service, Customs and Border Patrol and ICE. We all work together to accomplish our mutual goal of ensuring the safety and security of US residents and visitors in Broward County. An example of this cooperation would be providing logistical support to federal agents working within Broward County as and when such support is needed.  This is common courtesy among law enforcement agencies and is similar to the support and cooperation we would give to our Florida State Troopers, Sheriffs’ offices from adjacent counties, tribal, local city and village law enforcement agencies.

Treatment of Undocumented Persons in Broward County

It is emphatically not the role of the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) to search for and demand the papers of people who could be suspected of being undocumented.  Therefore, as your Sheriff, BSO will not actively nor passively “play the role” of a federal border patrol agent and ask residents and visitors of Broward for proof of citizenship or residency.  To the contrary, BSO under my leadership recognizes the importance of all lives in Broward County and will actively provide the support needed to get undocumented residents to the support they need to legalize their status in this country.  I personally have known undocumented people residing in Broward County who have worked hard, paid their taxes, raised families with American-born children and have eventually become greencard holders and US citizens.  It is my fervent belief that the overwhelming majority of undocumented residents in Broward are in that category and that it is in the best interest of Broward County’s public safety to ensure that these residents are treated fairly and with respect.

Treatment of Undocumented Persons in Broward Jails

As your Sheriff, it is important that everyone in Broward County understands that it is our collective duty to follow the law.  As such, it is important that all residents undocumented or otherwise refrain from illegal activity.  Any person duly arrested and held in any of Broward County’s facilities under the jurisdiction of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office can expect full cooperation with all relevant law enforcement agencies including those at the Federal level.  Therefore, if a request is made by ICE to hold an undocumented person to be turned over to Federal custody, BSO will oblige the request.  BSO, would not in any way initiate such an arrangement but will simply honor ICE’s request if made. I believe strongly that acting in this way is in the best interest of the resident’s of Broward and balances BSO’s need to cooperate with our fellow law enforcement agencies with our respect and support for all residents of Broward regardless of their national backgrounds and origins.

“BSO under my leadership recognizes the importance of all lives in Broward County and will actively provide the support needed to get undocumented residents to the support they need to legalize their status in this country.” 

In summary, as your Sheriff, you can expect your undocumented family and neighbors to be treated with respect and held to the same high standards of decency that we expect from all residents and visitors in Broward County.  Should an undocumented person breach this trust and find themselves in a county jail, they can expect that we would cooperate with an ICE request should such a request be made.

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