March 28-April 3, 2019 Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
At community forum, Forsyth Sheriff updates his position on ICE By Sayaka Matsuoka Newly elected sheriff of Forsyth County, Bobby Kimbrough, faced tough questions about immigration and cooperation with ICE from community members at the inaugural community forum on Monday. Members of the community hounded Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough with questions about immigration and the sheriff’s office’s cooperation with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at a community forum on Monday evening. More than a dozen immigration activists held up signs that read “Uncheck the Box” at the Forsyth County Central Library, where more than 120 members of the community gathered for an inaugural community forum hosted by the sheriff who recently celebrated his first 100 days in office. “Currently, we are talking to the US Marshals about that box,” said Kimbrough about a contract between the sheriff’s office and US Marshals that checks off ICE as an authorized user of the local jail. At a February press conference, Kimbrough announced that he would no longer authorize ICE to use the local jail to detain suspected undocumented immigrants under the contract which is up for renewal in April. The contract, which was initially signed under the previous administration in May 2016, authorizes ICE to detain “individuals who are awaiting a hearing on their immigration status or deportation.” Kimbrough walked back his pledge in comments on Monday evening that contradicted his assurance in February that he would renegotiate the US Marshals Services contract to no longer lease jail beds to ICE. “There’s contractual agreements that I have to respect because I can’t cost the county money based on what I feel or what I think,” Kimbrough said at Monday’s meeting. “We are negotiating with the US Marshal Services because what that is, is bed space with ICE,” Kimbrough said. “ICE is not only immigration. ICE handles human trafficking, guns, they handle a school of things. When the contract says ICE, it doesn’t mean immigration… So when we negotiate that contract, what we’ve got to do is… structure that contract specifically with the lawyers to make sure that we don’t address it to where we talkin’ about immigration or to house immigration violations.”
Christina Howell, the public affairs officer for the sheriff’s office, gave context on Kimbrough’s comments via phone call on Wednesday. “It’s not him wavering on his commitment; it’s making sure we uphold our legal obligations with honoring the rights of individuals,” Howell said. “We understand that this is a subject that stirs a lot of emotions. It’s a complex issue, and we appreciate the public taking the time to educate themselves, to do their research, to ask the questions.” She confirmed that they have not decided whether or not to continue authorizing ICE to use the jail when they renegotiate the contract. She said that under the current contract, ICE detainees are only allowed to stay in the jail SAYAKA MATSUOKA Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said his positions on cooperation for a maximum of 72 hours with ICE will comply with federal law. and that they do not have any undocumented immigrants prisoners after they’ve posted bond or enforcement check the immigration being held at this time. completed adjudication. I-203 requests status of “any person charged with a The federal government reimburses are administrative documents signed by criminal offense or an impaired driving the county $70 per day for each prisoner, ICE officers and are not warrants. offense.” Currently, state law requires according to Kimbrough. The sheriff However, Kimbrough stated that if his local law enforcement to check the status told reporters during his press conferoffice were to receive an arrest warrant of anyone charged with a felony or drivence in February that reimbursements from a US judge or federal magistrate ing while impaired, which Kimbrough for ICE prisoners since the beginning to hold someone in ICE custody, that his confirmed that his office does. The bill of the fiscal year on July 1, 2018 have office would honor that warrant. would additionally make it unlawful totaled $38,000. Another community member asked for any office to “prohibit federal law Laura Garduño Garcia with SiemKimbrough what he would do if a bill enforcement officers from entering and bra NC, an immigration that requires local law conducting enforcement activities at a advocacy group, said enforcement to detain uncounty jail, local confinement facility, that Sheriff Kimbrough ‘It could be the old documented immigrants district confinement facility, or satellite shouldn’t have to wait became a law. jail/work release unit.” Those who fail sheriff’s decision, until April to modify the “If it becomes law, it’s to comply would be fined at least $1,000 contract. A paragraph on but he’s the sheriff law and I have to follow for the first offense and $25,000 for each page 12 of the contract it,” Kimbrough said. subsequent offense. now so he’s states that “either party “There’s only so much Lonnie Albright, a Forsyth County may initiate a request for responsible.’ that I can do. And I will assistant attorney who is the police atmodification to this agreeobey the law. I have no torney assigned to the sheriff’s office, said – Laura Garduño ment in writing” and that choice.” in an email to TCB that he believes the all modifications negotiGarcia House Bill 370 was bill is unconstitutional and violates the ated will be effective after filed on March 14 in Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. written approval by both response to several sher“Marbury v. Madison, an 1803 US parties. iff’s departments — including Wake, Supreme Court case, essentially means “It could be the old sheriff’s decision, Durham, Orange and Mecklenburg that laws, rules, statutes repugnant to the but he’s the sheriff now so he’s responcounties — announcing that they will United States Constitution are invalid,” sible,” Garcia said in a phone interview limit cooperation with federal immigraAlbright said in the email. “This oldie is on Tuesday. tion officials. The bill, which is backed still the law of the land and it established “Other sheriffs have done the same by House Speaker Tim Moore, would the principle of judicial review in this thing,” Garcia added. require local law enforcement to honor country… My crystal ball says this has Kimbrough also said at the meetdetainer requests provided by ICE. The about as much a chance of becoming ing that his office does not honor I-203 bill would also require that local law law as does recreational marijuana.” detainer requests from ICE to hold
Furniture returns to High Point. Abigail Dowd looks inward. Forsyth sheriff changes his tune. And more.