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Florida Sheriffs Cite Constitutional Concerns, Still Seek to Collaborate with ICE

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County admits that he and many other sheriffs have concerns about the constitutionality of immigration detainers and seeks a constitutional workaround: Basic Ordering Agreements.

 

On April 21, 2017, in an email to members of the Florida Sheriffs Association, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri admitted that he and many other sheriffs had concerns about the constitutionality of immigration detainers. An immigration detainer is a form in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests that local law enforcement hold someone for an additional 48 additional hours beyond the time the local enforcement agency is authorized to hold the person so that ICE has time to come and pick them up.

Several courts have found that acting on these detainers violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Sheriff Gualtieri’s email was obtained by the SPLC in a public records request.

On January 17, 2018, 17 Florida counties announced that they would enter into a new collaboration agreement with ICE called Basic Ordering Agreements (BOAs). Since then, at least 12 additional counties have signed on. These BOAs were the result of Gualtieri’s efforts working with ICE. The new arrangement requires ICE to pay $50 for every immigrant they hold and turn over to ICE, for up to 48 hours. Gualtieri’s emails demonstrate the persistence of BOA counties to find and supply immigrants for ICE to deport, even when they know it violates the US Constitution.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU have sued Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay to prove BOAs do not cure the illegality of ICE detainers and cannot protect counties from liability for illegal acts they commit to collaborate with ICE.