Sedgwick Co. Sheriff's Office to honor ICE detainers with probable cause affidavits

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says his office will now honor detainers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Sheriff Easter says the agency's request to detain a person must be accompanied with a probable cause affidavit. The jail will then hold individuals for an additional 48 hours after they have been released on the original arresting charges.

Easter says he believes the probable cause affidavit will take the liability off the sheriff's office, one of his initial reasons for not honoring the ICE detainers.

Easter clarified that those being held for ICE must have committed other crimes, not just be undocumented.

He said there are currently five people being held in the Sedgwick County jail that meet the criteria.

Easter said he had been working with the local ICE director on the policy change.

He said he would not be notifying The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the group that classified Sedgwick County as a "sanctuary jurisdiction," about the change.

"It's not a law, it's never been in law, and I don't plan on notifying them," said Easter.

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting so-called "sanctuary jurisdictions," or jurisdictions that don't comply with ICE detainers. The order says federal funding will be stripped from "sanctuary jurisdictions". For Sedgwick County, that would mean a loss of about $11 million.

At least two bills have been proposed in the Kansas legislature to strip state funding from "sanctuary counties". CIS said Sedgwick and five other Kansas counties - Butler, Harvey, Finney, Johnson, Shawnee -met the criteria. Last week, Finney County was officially removed from the list.

Sedgwick County's policy change is effective Feb. 14.