Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs.
Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller is playing a dangerous and deceitful game with the citizens he serves.
Elected in 2018, Miller pledged to join a campaign of the far left aimed at hindering enforcement of immigration law. As sheriff, he ordered the jail to not cooperate with ICE agents who sought to take custody of unauthorized immigrants already in custody for some other criminal offense.
ICE (as well as all other law enforcement agencies) generally prefers to take custody of a person in a secure, controlled environment, rather than out in public where other people might get hurt if things become violent. Buncombe County's Sheriff apparently prefers the latter scenario.
What's worse,the Sheriff plays duplicitous word games in a cynical effort to rationalize his behavior and convince citizens that we're not seeing what we're obviously seeing.
In a news release, Miller said:
"Sheriff Miller’s policy on 287g and ICE detainers has remained consistent regarding the need for a warrant signed by a judicial official in order for an individual to be detained in the Buncombe County Detention Facility.
"If ICE is aware of an individual that they have determined to be a danger to the public safety of Buncombe County then ICE should obtain a warrant for their arrest. Once that warrant has been secured my Deputies will work to apprehend that individual.” - Sheriff Quentin Miller
The truth, from ICE:
ICE officers are sworn federal law enforcement officers who operate within the confines of the law. Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides ICE officers the authority to arrest aliens without a judicial warrant. In fact, no judge in this country has the authority to issue a warrant for a civil immigration violation. Congress, by statute, vested this authorization solely to supervisory immigration officers. Local police officers don’t need a warrant when they encounter someone breaking the law in a public space, and the same holds true for ICE officers.
Sheriff Miller is deceiving the public by saying he'd honor a warrant that simply doesn't exist. He sets a standard that he knows ICE cannot meet, because the law doesn't allow for it. He then uses that as justification for not helping ICE perform its duties that IS provided under the law.
Our Sheriff displays the craven political animus that is the hallmark of progressives when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration - conjuring all manner of legal re-interpretations in order to avoid enforcing immigration law.
It is shameful and grotesque to send a violent criminals back into a vulnerable population to victimize more innocent people, while preening and pretending that he cares about those very victims.
If you email his office to condemn his efforts to shield violent criminals from deportation, his office will say: "The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office cannot hold an individual without probable cause according to the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. " Again - this is gaslighting in service to politics.
“On these sorts of hot-button political issues people go to extremes on both sides,” said Shawn Fields, who teaches immigration law at Campbell University School of Law.
“On one extreme people will say these ICE detainers are illegal altogether. I just want to emphasize that’s not true,” Fields said. “It’s just the way that they are applied pose real constitutional problems.”
The chief concern is violations of the Fourth Amendment, which requires probable cause to make a criminal arrest, Fields said.
ICE detainers are also subject to the Fourth Amendment. They can run afoul of its requirements because they ask local law enforcement officials to keep a subject in custody for up to 48 hours beyond the time they would otherwise be released, Fields said. That could stretch out even longer because weekends are not figured into the 48 hours.
“The Constitution and Supreme Court case law clearly says this new seizure has to be justified by probable cause under the Fourth Amendment,” Fields said.
Caldwell said in November 2018 the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in Chavez v. Carmichael that honoring an ICE detainer is lawful under existing state law. He thinks the most current version of H.B. 370 also is constitutional. It requires that a person subject to a detainer be taken before a judicial official without unnecessary delay, and the judicial official must order the subject to be held in custody.
Fields contends probable cause is nuanced. It requires that the person be a noncitizen, and subject to removal at the time the detainer is issued due to a criminal conviction.
“That’s one major constitutional problem with these ICE detainers, is it presumes a lot of the time that someone’s been convicted of an offense when they’ve only been arrested,” Fields said. Another problem is a 2012 Supreme Court ruling in Arizona v. United States that said it is not unlawful for an undocumented immigrant subject to removal to remain in the country. That is a civil matter.
“So law enforcement can’t just pick people up on immigration violations and hold them for ICE detainers,” Fields said.
Conversely, he said, many undocumented noncitizens arrested by law enforcement for some independent criminal activity may have a history of aggravated felony convictions, for example, “and they clearly are subject to removal at that time.”
Of course, forcing ICE to make arrests in neighborhoods raises the agency's visibility and frightens populations that are here illegally and living in fear of deportation.
And perhaps this is the whole point.
Perhaps some progressive sheriffs have made the calculation that letting a few child rapists and murderers go free to re-offend is worth it - if it fuels the narrative against President Donald Trump's evil ICE force. After all, "abolish ICE" becomes a more urgent demand if people see ICE making more arrests out on the streets.