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Governor LePage Directs Sheriffs to Comply with ICE Illegal Alien Detention Requests

September 26, 2017

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA—Governor Paul R. LePage sent a letter today to all 16 of Maine’s county sheriffs directing them to do their duty and cooperate with federal officials per his executive order 001-2011, signed January 6, 2011, “An Order to Enhance Cooperation Between State and Federal Law Enforcement Officials.

“Under the authority granted to me by law, I am directing you to cooperate with federal immigration officials and follow the provisions of Executive Order 001-2011,” stated Governor LePage. “As a State established under the authority of the Constitutions of the United States of America and of the State of Maine, the State must do its duty and work cooperatively at the Federal, State, and Local level to enforce the laws that maintain our nation’s sovereignty and keep us safe.”

The executive order states: “It is the intent of this Administration to promote rather than hinder the enforcement of federal immigration law . . . Employees and officials of the State of Maine shall cooperate with employees and officials of the federal government on all matters pertinent to immigration, subject only to any limitations imposed by statutory law or by the Constitutions of Maine or the United States.”

Sheriffs have indicated that when served a detainer request from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials they will not hold the illegal alien without a warrant.

In Morales v. Chadbourne, the federal court ruled that ICE must have probable cause to issue detainer requests to local law enforcement. ICE only issues detainer requests if they have probable cause to believe an inmate is in the country illegally. The detainer request requires ICE officials to indicate the conditions under which they request the detainer, which can be up to a 48-hour maximum.

Maine law gives the governor the authority to direct county sheriffs, and the Constitution of the State of Maine gives the governor broad authority to remove sheriffs from office who are not faithfully executing their duties. (See Article IX, Section 10, “Removal of sheriffs from office and replacement.”)

“Because ICE officials must have probable cause prior to requesting a detainer, we should not be putting potentially dangerous illegal aliens back on the streets without granting federal officials the authorized 48 hours of detention,” stated Governor LePage. “My executive order clearly requires this reasonable cooperation on behalf of Maine’s law enforcement officers for the safety of our people. If the sheriffs refuse to comply with state and federal law, I am authorized to take additional action to remove them from office under the Maine Constitution.”

A copy of the ICE documents are posted at the links below and are also available via a search on the ICE website at https://www.ice.gov/ero .

A copy of the Governor’s letter is available at the link below.

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