SARASOTA (WWSB) - The Immigration Enforcement Agency recently announced a new partnership in Florida to allow sheriff’s deputies to serve warrants on behalf of the federal government. Both Sarasota and Manatee counties are now saying they will participate in this initiative.
For the Sarasota County Sheriff, releasing a criminal back onto the streets is unacceptable. Colonel Kurt Hoffman says this partnership is a game changer.
“It will authorize county corrections deputies, not folks who work out in the field, but deputies in the jail to actually serve the warrant. So we’ll be able to hold them now for the 48-hours for them to be removed," explained Hoffman.
As part of the agreement, I.C.E will train deputies for one day. The training will enable them to arrest people on immigration charges while they are in jail and already facing other charges.
“We have an average of about 36-40 criminal undocumented aliens that come into the Manatee County jail every year,” said Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells.
Florida ACLU president Michael Barfield disagrees with the move. He said in a statement, “We oppose efforts that target individuals for removal based on their national origin.”
Not the case, according to Sheriff Wells, who countered, “We’re not targeting anyone. We’re talking about someone who has committed a crime in Manatee County. We didn’t go looking for them. They violated the law and therefore were arrested on that charge.”