LINCOLN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ AND SHERIFF’S JOINT STATEMENT
In response to numerous requests from local citizens, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners and Sheriff Curtis Landers February 1st discussed at the Board of Commissioner’s Meeting the position of Lincoln County in the conduct of county business in light of the new Trump Administration’s actions in Washington, D. C.
County staff are carefully monitoring any potential impacts either in law or funding that are passed down by the federal government, either directly or indirectly through the State of Oregon. The short answer is that it is business as usual in Lincoln County, regardless of the actions and activities undertaken in Washington D.C.
Lincoln County remains a welcoming community to all who work in, reside in or visit our County. County actions will continue to reflect our commitment to an open, respectful and collaborative environment. The County has, and will continue, to support a diverse set of ideas, individuals and groups that welcomes all viewpoints and allows for disagreement and discourse. The Commissioners noted that in the past year alone, the County has taken actions reflecting that course of action, including but not limited to declaring World Aids Day in Lincoln County (as they have done for many years), to bring awareness to the fight against the HIV/AIDS public health problem; declaring “Upstander Week” in April of 2016, taking a stand against bullying in schools and in our community, joining with the Central Coast PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the Lincoln County School District and Oregon Coast Community College, local churches and community groups to raise awareness of, and improve responses to, bullying across all age groups and in all settings; and proclaiming October 2016 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Lincoln County noting that domestic and sexual violence crosses all social groups, including highest rates for women, LGBTQ, poor, immigrants, young, elderly and other identified groups.
On the specific issue of response to the President’s Executive Order of January 25th concerning Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, there are no planned changes in local practices, which have always followed the law as set forth by the State of Oregon (ORS 181A.820) and the United States Constitution as interpreted by the federal courts. Under Oregon law, the County is prohibited from spending public resources or using personnel, including Lincoln County law enforcement officers and deputies, to locate or arrest a person whose only violation of law is that they are in the country in violation of federal immigration laws. That law has been in effect in Oregon since 1987. County law enforcement personnel are not immigration enforcement officers. Furthermore, a federal court in Oregon has ruled that if a county jail holds a person in jail at the request of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency (so called ICE detainer requests) past his or her local release date solely on the basis of that detainer request, the county is violating that person’s constitutional rights and the county and jail are subject to serious civil liability.
County jails will hold a person subject to a federal warrant signed by a magistrate, just as we would honor a valid warrant from another local government or state. It is important to note that if a person is illegally in the country, and commits another violation of law, Oregon police officers are specifically allowed by Oregon law to cooperate by exchanging information with ICE, and Oregon jails including Lincoln County’s do so routinely. Lincoln County also prosecutes persons for criminal acts, no matter what their immigration status, and penalties are imposed regardless of that status.
We expect that the President, Congress and the Courts will continue to weigh in on this issue to determine what future actions will or will not be allowed.
Lincoln County Board of Commissioners and Lincoln County Sheriff