The nation's sheriffs are united in support of full enforcement of immigration laws and want to be involved. The sheriffs want Congress to provide more resources for enforcement, pay more attention to worksites (including mandatory E-Verify), and expand the 287(g) program according to a position paper developed by the group's Immigration and Border Security Committee and approved by the organization’s national board of directors.
The first sentence reads: "It is critical that local law enforcement maintain and build upon the partnerships with federal law enforcement to ensure that collectively we can promote, protect, and preserve the public safety and homeland security."
Other noteworthy recommendations include:
- Enforce the immigration laws now on the books (as opposed to the current non-enforcement or worst criminals-only approach).
- "NO reduction or shifting of current federal funds to state and local programs in order to pay for new federal immigration enforcement programs." (emphasis in original) This suggests opposition to the Obama administration's planned replacement of the popular and effective 287(g) program with the helpful and essential, but limited, Secure Communities program. The sheriffs also call for ICE to allow more new 287(g) programs.
- Finish the fence, and get help from the military.
- Detain and process all illegal aliens who are apprehended.
- Mandate employer use of E-Verify and require the Social Security Administration to issue no-match letters. Legislation to accomplish this has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
- Prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal workers (as opposed to merely inspecting their personnel files).
The sheriffs also strongly state opposition to amnesty, while endorsing an undefined guestworker program.
This position paper is important, because members of Congress typically value the input of the sheriffs in their districts. Sheriffs are uniquely qualified to speak out on the immigration issue by virtue of their understanding of the crime, security, and the fiscal issues caused by uncontrolled immigration, as described in our recent panel discussion featuring 10 sheriffs. And as elected officials they understand the needs of the voters they represent.