Palm Beach County is certifying with the federal government that it is not a “sanctuary” county in order to be considered for a federal law enforcement grant.
At a meeting last week, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told the Board of County Commissioners the distinction comes down to how his department processes prisoners at the county jail.
“We have not been, are presently not, and will not be a sanctuary county,” said Bradshaw.
Bradshaw says he runs the jail in compliance with federal law and cooperates with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement -- or ICE.
“If somebody is arrested and they cannot prove they are a U.S. citizen, that information is transmitted to ICE on a daily basis,” said Bradshaw.
If ICE wants to take that person into custody, it has to get a judge to issue a detention order. ICE will send that order to the the sheriff’s office, and the sheriff’s office will hold that inmate for ICE.
A judge’s order is different than the so-called ICE “detainers” issued by the agency itself. PBSO stopped honoring those in 2014 after federal courts ruled they were only voluntary requests from ICE and could be considered unconstitutional.
And PBSO does not participate in immigration roundups, Bradshaw said.
“We don’t go to the Glades and go to the cites and do roundups with Immigration and Border Patrol,” Bradshaw said. “That’s their job. That’s not ours.”
Palm Beach County Commissioners approved the federal Certification of Illegal Immigration Cooperation unanimously.
The certification will make the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office eligible to compete for a federal Community Oriented Policing Services — or COPS — grant.