TELLER COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell was sued by six individuals accusing him of violating state law by holding undocumented immigrants in his jail.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers argued on behalf of those individuals that holding inmates solely based on immigrants' status violates due process and state law.
A District Court has now ruled in favor of Mikesell, saying his 287 (g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is legal. The ruling says the sheriff in this instance is "acting as a de facto federal immigration officer" and the legislature does not prevent Colorado sheriffs from entering into such agreements. The sheriff has the authority to enter into the agreement under his authority to keep the peace per C.R.S. 30-1--516, according to the ruling.
The conclusion written by District Judge Scott A. Sells says, "I find the Plaintiffs have not met their burden of proof by a preponderance of evidence on any of their respective claims."
Director of the ACLU Colorado, Mark Silverstein issued the following statement regarding the ruling:
“We are disappointed that the trial court upheld the Teller County Sheriff’s 287g program. We remain steadfast in our claim that the Sheriff’s program of enforcing federal immigration law violates the Colorado Constitution as well as a Colorado statute. We will now take this case to the Colorado Court of Appeals.”
Sheriff Mikesell released the following statement regarding the ruling:
"Sheriff Mikesell is very pleased the Teller County District Court Judge granted all of his claims while denying all of the claims asserted by the ACLU. The judge entered a lengthy and thorough ruling which is posted on the Sheriff’s website. Notably, the judge ruled that Sheriff Mikesell has the legal authority to enter into the 287(g) Agreement with ICE and concluded that entering into the 287(g) Agreement is a function of Sheriff Mikesell’s statutory duty to keep and preserve the peace in Teller County. The judge also ruled that actions taken the trained and certified Teller County Sheriff’s deputies and officers acting as Designated Immigration Officers (DIOs) do so as de facto federal officers under the supervision of ICE and that their actions are lawful and consistent with Colorado law.
This ruling allows me to continue to protect and serve this community. I would like to thank our community for all the support, our commissioners and legal services. We will continue to fight for our community. I don't believe in giving ground or backing down to those who would attempt to bully us into inaction."
The conclusion from District Judge Scott A. Sells continues to say that as per C.R.C.P. Rule 57, the following six claims of Sheriff Mikesell were granted:
- Teller County Sheriff Mikesell has the legal authority to enter into the 287(g) agreement with ICE.
- The Colorado law does not prohibit the Teller County Sheriff from entering into the 287(g) agreement with ICE.
- The functions performed under the agreement by trained and certified Teller County Sheriff's deputies and officers acting as designated immigration officers under the supervision of ICE are lawful and consistent with Colorado law.
- That the Teller County Sheriff's deputies and officers who are trained and certified by ICE are de facto federal officers when they are performing functions as designated immigration officers under the agreement.
- That a Form I-200 Warrant for Arrest of Alien, issued by and ICE officer is not a request but is a valid federal arrest warrant authorized by federal law at 8 U.S.C 1357(a) and 8 C.F.R. 236.1 and that these federal arrest warrants do not have to be signed by a judge.
- Teller County sheriff's deputies and officers who perform functions under the agreement as designated immigration officers do no arrest or detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer request because they only arrest or detain an individual by serving a valid federal arrest warrant issued by an ICE officer pursuant to 8 U.S.C 1357(a) and 8 C.F.R. 287.5(e)(3).