Sheriff sued for cooperating with ICE is vindicated

Scott Jenkins is the sheriff of Culpeper County in Virginia. In that capacity, and pursuant to requests from the federal government, he turned an illegal immigrant over to ICE once that immigrant finished serving his criminal sentence.

The illegal immigrant had been arrested for driving without a license and for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The Culpeper County Jail received a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and an administrative arrest warrant from the Department of Homeland Security, there being probable cause to believe Rios was a “removable alien.”

The detainer asked the local jail to notify ICE at least 48 hours before Rios’s release, and requested that the jail also maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time when he would otherwise have been released from custody, to allow the Department of Homeland Security to assume custody.

Jenkins complied. ICE, therefore, was able to arrest the immigrant upon his release and take him into custody for removal proceedings under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

This is exactly how things should work. Illegal aliens who, in addition to being in the U.S. unlawfully, commit crimes against the public should be removed from the country, not sent back into the community where they can commit more crimes.

But American left doesn’t see it this way. Thus, the Legal Aid Justice Center of Falls Church, Virginia filed a class action suit against Sheriff Jenkins.

Fortunately, a federal district judge, Senior Judge Glen E. Conrad of the Western District of Virginia, has ruled that Jenkins acted lawfully in cooperating with Homeland Security. Hans von Spakovsky discusses the judge’s reasoning here.

It’s worth noting that Senior Judge Conrad is a George W Bush appointee. I can easily imagine a different judge — say, one nominated by Barack Obama — reaching the opposite result.

In other words, it might only have been through the luck of the draw that Sheriff Jenkins was found not to have violated the Constitution by cooperating with ICE in the removal of an illegal immigrant who violated local criminal law. It’s difficult to overstate how politicized immigration law has become. Nor is immigration law the only area in which this is the case.

As a footnote, I’ll add that President Bush nominated Judge Conrad to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals after Lindsey Graham, for no good reason, sank the nomination of Jim Haynes to that court. As I understand it, Senate Democrats ran out the clock on Conrad’s nomination in 2009. This tactic, combined with Graham’s blockage of Haynes, helped turn the Fourth Circuit from majority conservative to majority liberal.

But at least Senior Judge Conrad was around to dismiss the left’s ridiculous lawsuit against Sheriff Jenkins.

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