KEENE, NH: It is without dispute that the enforcement of immigration laws is the responsibility of the federal government and that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office does not have the authority or jurisdiction to enforce them. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are reviewing current practices and deciding whether they will enter or not enter into agreements with the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce or not enforce immigration laws.
After taking some time to reflect on this current issue, as Sheriff, I’ve decided that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office will not seek to enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce federal immigrations laws. Furthermore, we will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons. Any representative of ICE requesting our assistance must have an active criminal warrant issued by a judge or must be actively pursuing a criminal investigation that relates to public safety for us to participate.
In addition, we will not ask a person their immigration status or detain a person based on an administrative civil detainer that is not issued by a judge. As Sheriff, I do not want undocumented immigrants to fear the Sheriff’s Office, instead I want them to be able to approach and speak to any of my deputies without the fear that they will be turned over to ICE. If in the course of our duties we happen to come across an undocumented person we will handle each encounter in a way we deem appropriate for each situation. Numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the country have taken the same position as I have, while others have taken the opposite and are seeking to enter into agreements with ICE for the enforcement of immigration laws.
If you are an undocumented person in Cheshire County and feel uncertain about approaching law enforcement for fear they will turned you over to ICE, feel free to call me, Sheriff Eli Rivera, at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Eliezer “Eli” Rivera
March 20, 2017