How local sheriff's departments are associated with ICE - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How local sheriff's departments are associated with ICE

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PASCO, WA - Pasco Police recently announced on Facebook that they're not working directly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. To learn if other law enforcement or sheriff's departments play a part in working with ICE, we sent reporter Stefani Zenteno out to investigate locally.

Lately, immigration has been a hot topic in our area and across the country, and confusion and doubt still exists among members of the community. Pasco Police recently posted on Facebook that they have always and will continue to assist ICE, but made it clear that investigations and enforcement of immigration laws are not part of their job.

Stefani Zenteno spoke with the Benton County Sheriff's Office to find out if they work closely with ICE. Scott Souza with the Sheriff's Office says they don't ask for anyone's immigration status, but they do share information with ICE if there's a document signed by a judge.

"Any arrests for ICE that we hold for ICE requires the signature of a federal judge," said Souza.

Stefani tried to contact the Yakima County Sheriff's Office to see how they cooperate with ICE, but they did not return her call.

Meanwhile, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office says they don't have any arrest power or authority to enforce immigration laws.

"They (ICE) have access to all the public information that you or I would have of people that are sitting inside the facility, and they come in and make checks for whatever reason," said Jim Raymond with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. "But that's done independent of our booking/arresting process."

Raymond says ICE agents come into their facility to do some checks, but that's done independently and has nothing to do with their booking process.

"If you commit a crime and you get arrested, you are in jeopardy that people are going to be asking what your status is," said Raymond. "But people need to differentiate...they are coming to us, they've gotten themselves arrested, they're criminals that have been arrested and that's what's creating the jeopardy for them. Obey the law, don't speed, drink and drive, or shoot your neighbor and you don't have to worry that local enforcement is coming to try to check your status."