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Culpeper Times • November 29-December 5, 2018
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The ACLU of Virginia held a press conference Tuesday at Yowell Meadow Park to announce a lawsuit against Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins and the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors in regards to the 287(g) program.
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ACLU of Virginia files lawsuit against Culpeper County Sheriff, BOS ➤ Lawsuit centers around 287(g) program and the ACLU's contention that Va. is a 'Dillon Rule' state By Jeff Say Culpeper Times Staff Writer The ACLU of Virginia sued Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins and the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors Tuesday over an “unauthorized agreement” to use county resources to enforce federal immigration laws. The lawsuit centers around Jenkins decision to enter into a the 287(g) contract with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement that allows sheriff ’s deputies to perform certain functions of ICE officers, including detaining them as if in ICE custody. The program is run through the Culpeper County jail. A group of nearly 20 people - about half of them Culpeper locals - listened as ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastanaga discuss the lawsuit. “The purpose of this lawsuit is to force Sheriff Jenkins to withdraw from his agreement with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement which is harming the community he was elected to serve and protect,” she said. According to the ACLU, Virginia is a “Dillon Rule” state, meaning local governments only have authority to take actions specifically authorized by the state Constitution or legislature. Neither authorizes localities or constitutional officers to voluntarily take on the responsibility to
enforce federal immigration law directly or to spend local tax revenues to do so. According to Gastanaga, the U.S. Constitution also protects immigrants who are not documented. “They are entitled to the same constitutional rights,” she said. The lawsuit was filed by Michael V. McClary and Christina Stockton against Jenkins and the Board of Supervisors as a result of a pro bono partnership between the ACLU of Virginia and McGuire Woods LLP. Jenkins is identified as a defendant in the lawsuit because he was the local official who entered into the 287(g) agreement and the BOS is a defendant because it allocates funding to the sheriff ’s office. “I think this is ridiculous, I haven’t read it yet, but I can’t believe they did this,” Culpeper County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Chase said. The ACLU contends that the program is not “free” as Jenkins has maintained. “While ICE does pay for expenses for training officers and some other direct costs, there is no question that local dollars still into play by, among other things, paying for the salaries and benefits of officers who are under direct and exclusive federal control,” ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Eden Heilman said. Gastanaga could not say how many residents have been affected by the 287(g) program or how many officers have been trained under the program. “The purpose of this litigation is to uphold the rule of law,” Gastanga said. “Culpeper officials will be prevented from engaging in acts not authorized by state law that make everyone in the ➤ See Lawsuit, Page 7
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