by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….
If you’re like us, you probably think, what in the world is a Sanctuary City or County? Some sort of governmental civil disobedience?
This week we followed the case of an immigration “hold” detainee at the county jail where we learned of the Monroe County Sheriff’s position on the subject. In the following order: Monroe County is not a sanctuary county, then it is, and then it is not.
Through time, we’ve learned that when black or brown people are stopped for having too dark of a windshield, the charge is very often unfounded. The windows were not in fact shaded over the 25% legal standard. What is not unfounded is the result of the incidental search of the vehicle or identity check that follows. In this case “Jane Doe”* did not have a valid driver’s license when she was stopped by a deputy on Stock Island.
The 23-year old, mother of two, was taken to Monroe County Detention Center, photographed and fingerprinted. The FBI search resulted in a “detainer request” from Border Patrol.
This “detainer request” means that Border Patrol wants to take custody of “Ms. Doe,” a native of Central America, to investigate her immigration status. They asked the Sheriff to “hold” onto “Jane Doe,” even after she posts a bond on the driver’s license charge.
Under the law, the County does not have to honor ICE’s detainer request. To put it simply, if it refuses it’s a “Sanctuary County” but if it honors the detainer request then it’s not a Sanctuary County.
So, we looked up “Ms. Doe’s” status on the Sheriff’s website and it said “995 HOLD” and “No bond. Border Patrol.” Which means our County is not a Sanctuary County and at this point our conservative readers rejoice –but wait — it’s not over.
Last month, Miami Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch issued a 15-page ruling on the legality of immigration detainers. The Judge concluded that holding illegal aliens for any period of time in a county facility, without a federal court order violates the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He signed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, ordering immediate release of a man being held in a Dade County jail under a federal ICE detainer.
Sanctuary City advocates argue that their goal is not to disobey the law but to refuse unconstitutional bullying by federal agencies.
“The price to be paid for that aid (assisting ICE),” wrote Judge Hirsch, “was determined, long ago, to be much too high. The price would be the subjugation of state and local governments, the reduction of those governments to mere satrapies of a central government of unlimited and illimitable power.”
So, we sent an email to the Sheriff’s office to find out whether Monroe County was indeed one of the counties in the country that honors those, arguably, unconstitutional detainer requests.
After a few exchanges, our very astute Sheriff took the position that there had been a mistake on the website and thank you for pointing it out. Monroe County, we were told, would not honor the detainer “hold”.
The local county judge, during first appearance, had set a $500 bond for “Jane’s” release. The Sheriff’s office spokesperson, Becky Herrin relayed the following:
“Her family can bond her out on the local charges, after which she would be released on those charges. Once she or her family posted bond, we would notify federal authorities of her imminent release, per their request. What happens to her after that would be up to those federal authorities.”
We then informed “Jane’s” family that, contrary to what they were initially told at the jail, “Jane” would be freed after they paid the $500 bond. Welcome to Sheriff Ramsey’s “Sanctuary County.”
And now, for “Part Three” where Monroe is back to NOT being a Sanctuary County. “Ms. Doe” has been in jail since Sunday, her bond has been paid since Tuesday, but the jail has refused to release her “because of the Border Patrol detainer request.”
Why two completely contradictory stories? Is there one version for the public and the press and one version for law enforcement? Or is this a case of miscommunication inside the department?
In U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, an 1898 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the term “person” under the Fifth Amendment applied to aliens living in the U.S. In Fong Yue Ting v. U.S.,the court held that Chinese laborers, “like all other aliens residing in the United States,” are entitled to protection of the laws.
In the inevitable upcoming deportation crisis the rights of aliens should be clearly spelled out.
At press time [Thursday shortly after 8:00 pm] “Ms. Jane” was still being held at the Monroe county jail based on the Border Patrol detainer.
UPDATE 8:23 am Friday: “Jane Doe” was released late last night or early this morning. She no longer appears on the list of current inmates at the county jail. We believe she was turned over to the custody of ICE or CBP.
*The Blue Paper is honoring a request by “Jane Doe’s” representatives to refrain from publishing her identity at this time.