According to WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, up until last week, Butler County, in western Pennsylvania, was listed in an online list of sanctuary jurisdictions compiled by the conservative Center for Immigration Studies.
The county prison board clarified its relationship with Immigrations and Customs Enforcment, or ICE. The policy reads that the Butler County Prison will accept ICE detainers that include a warrant, the prison will send a list of inmates to ICE on a weekly basis, and ICE will be permitted access to the facility and inmates as appropriate.
“The sanctuary designation did not reflect our intentions or practices,” Rep. Stephenie Scialabba, who spearheaded the effort after a constituent reached out to her, said. “We are a county of security and law and order.”
County Commissioner Kim Geyer said the sanctuary designation “created a lot of heartache and angst” for residents who believed it didn’t represent the values of Butler county.
Officials said they welcome and encourage legal immigration, but point to drug trafficking issues they are seeing.
THE OFFICIALS HERE SAY THEY DESIGNATION AS A SANCTUARY COUNTY DIDN’T REFLECT THEIR INTENTIONS OR PRACTICE. THAT’S WHY THEY DECIDED TO MAKE THIS CHANGE.
“WE ARE A COUNTY OF SECURITY AND LAW AND ORDER AND BEING LISTED ON THE INTERNET WITH THIS DESIGNATION AS A SANCTUARY COUNTY ONLY SERVES AS A CALLING CARD FOR MORE CRIME. BEFORE TODAY, BUTLER COUNTY WAS INCLUDED IN THIS MAP FROM THE CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES. IT SHOWS MUNICIPALITIES IT CONSIDERS SANCTUARIES FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. THOSE ARE PLACES THAT OBSTRUCT IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT OR ICE. BUT NOW BUTLER IS OFF THE LIST AS ITS PRISON BOARD DEFINED ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH ICE.
THE PRISON WILL NOW PROVIDE A LIST OF INMATES TO THE FEDERAL AGENCY AND ACCEPT ICE DETAINERS THAT INCLUDE A WARRANT.”
THE VOTE TO UNDO THIS WAS A UNANIMOUS ONE.
REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE STEPHANIE MALABA SPEARHEADED THE EFFORT. “IT’S A SAFE PLACE TO LIVE HERE. IT’S A SAFE PLACE TO WORK HERE. AND WE WELCOME YOU. AND WE WANT IMMIGRANTS HERE. THAT IS WHAT OUR COUNTRY IS FOUNDED ON. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE TO COME HERE LEGALLY. YOU CANNOT COME HERE, COMMIT A CRIME AND THINK THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO COOPERATE WITH ICE TO HAVE YOU OUT OF HERE. THEY ALSO SAY THEY’LL BE PROVIDING THIS TO OTHER COUNTIES WITH THAT SANCTUARY DESIGNATION SHOULD THEY WANT TO MAKE A CHANGE.”