(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Governor Paul LePage has notified the sheriffs of all 16 of Maine’s counties, directing them to abide by a 2011 executive order that required them to cooperate with federal immigration officials, or else they will face possible termination.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues detainer requests for illegal immigrants, but these are not equivalent to warrants. So, Maine’s county sheriffs have refused to fulfill the requests, fearing their actions will result in civil rights lawsuits.
If warrants are not presented, then ICE must give law enforcement probable cause to believe that an individual has broken immigrant law. Federal courts have ruled that ICE detainers, in themselves, do not constitute probable cause, according to the Press Herald. Once a detainer is issued, state and local officials can hold people for 48 hours.
LePage wants state and local law enforcement to follow the orders regardless.
“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,” LePage said.
LePage has threatened to exercise greater executive authority if Maine’s counties do not comply with his order.
“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.”