WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter announced a change to how they will deal with illegal immigrants and the federal government. Under the old policy, the jail would not accept those arrested solely for being an illegal alien, and the immigration control enforcement wouldn’t supply an affidavit, which the sheriff says is done by other law enforcement agencies. Under the new policy that has been worked out through ICE and the Sedgwick County sheriff, the feds will supply the paperwork to hold the suspects for 48 hours. This includes if they were arrested for being an illegal alien. The sheriff says a lot of federal funding could have been at stake.
“The executive order states the jurisdictions that do not honor ICE detainees are sanctuaries and subject to losing federal funding. For Sedgwick County that’s roughly $11 million that we could potentially lose in federal funding,” said Sheriff Easter at a conference Tuesday morning.
The sheriff did stress that Sedgwick County has never been a sanctuary community. But the real issue at hand is how long a person can legally be kept in jail, regardless of their legal status. KSN first spoke with Wichita Attorney Charles O’Hara for a deeper understanding of how this new rule will impact people.
“A lot of people don’t understand what this even really means,” explained O’Hara. “You can hold somebody on probable cause for 48 hours. And then after 48 hours they need to see a judge about getting a bond because we’re not just going to let you hold people there without seeing a judge”
The system is set up for due process and everyone has the right to be treated equally, including those in the jail system.
“Whether you have a Hispanic name or O’Hara as your name and you should be treated the same and I think we all outta applaud the fact that we’re all being treated the same in the system,” said O’Hara.
However, others think there are bigger things at stake.
“Folks who migrated here to the U.S. what can we do to keep their families together,” asked Brandon Johnson, a community activist.
Johnson tells us he is in favor of due process through the jail systems but he feels there are larger immigration issues that need to be handled as well.
“There are people who have waited 10 to 12 years to become citizens what can we do to shorten that process, while still vetting them like everyone wants to but there are folks that are here that over stayed visas who are productive who are students who are trying to be the best that they can be,” said Johnson.
Right now, moving forward Sedgwick County law enforcement will honor all ICE requests accompanied by a probable cause affidavit.