(ESPAÑOL) The Cheshire County, New Hampshire sheriff has refused to take part in the immigration raids.
Sheriff Eli Rivera said there’s no question that immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility, and he has made it clear that his office won’t partner with federal agents to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
“We will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons,” Rivera said in a written statement.
It’s a public move that no other New Hampshire sheriff has made so far.
“We take seriously our oath, which is both to the United States Constitution and the constitution of New Hampshire,” Strafford County Sheriff David DuBois said. “We believe that involves cooperation with federal agencies.”
Immigration activists said they support Rivera’s stand.
“I applaud him for coming out and speaking his mind,” activist Eva Castillo said.
Castillo called Rivera’s position principled and in the interests of public safety.
“We’re all safer when people trust that the police department is not there to chase after them because they are undocumented,” she said. “They’re there to protect and serve.”
Among the critics is Manchester Alderman Joseph Kelly Levasseur, a strong supporter of President Donald Trump. Rivera’s position, he said, makes him unfit for office.
“To come out and write this, put this in a statement and say he’s not going to enforce, he’s not going to work with (immigration officials), he should step down,” Levasseur said. “He should step down immediately and put somebody in there that will actually protect the citizens of this state.”
“We need employees, we need workers, we need people to come here, to come to America,” he said. “We just want you here legally, so we know who you are, and we know why you came here.”
Whether other sheriffs across the country will join this effort and oppose the raids is yet to be seen.