Sedgwick County’s sanctuary label to be re-evaluated

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Center for Immigration Studies says it’s re-evaluating Sedgwick County as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

Wednesday night, we told you Sedgwick County was still listed as a sanctuary county, even though the sheriff says his office is following all of the laws.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter told KSN he reached out to the CIS back on August 4th in an email.

In that email, he asked a slew of questions about why they were included as a sanctuary county.

After Sheriff Easter had not heard back from the CIS for three weeks, KSN reached out to them yesterday.

Today, Jessica Vaughan, the Director for Policy Studies with the CIS responded back.

“I was prompted into looking at the current policy in Sedgwick County when I got an email from you asking why they were still on the map,” said Vaughan.

Vaughan says she was alerted to a policy change by Sheriff Easter that seemed to take care of the issue of them being labeled a sanctuary county.

“If that is the case and he is cooperating with ICE on every notice that is received on criminal aliens that ICE is seeking to deport, than that is not a Sanctuary policy,” said Vaughan.

So KSN asked what comes next?

Vaughan says she has yet to see a physical copy of the county’s policy.

She says once she does, she’d have no problem removing Sedgwick County from being labeled a sanctuary county on their website.

“Once we have information that a jurisdiction has changed their policy, we are happy to update the map to show they are no longer a sanctuary, that’s really good news for public safety,” said Vaughan.

It is something that eases the concerns of Sheriff Easter.

“Absolutely, been dealing with this for three and a half years, it has been a subject that has been almost nonstop for three and a half years,” said Sheriff Easter.

Sheriff Easter says the Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, has continued to label Sedgwick County a sanctuary county for the past three years.

“We have been very transparent, at what time does Mr. Kobach reach out to us and say okay tell me what your policy is, tell me that you are in compliance, and tell me the reason why,” said Sheriff Easter.

“I can reassure the citizens of Sedgwick County we are not a sanctuary county, never have been, nor will we be in the future,” Sheriff Easter added.

KSN did reach out to Secretary of State Kobach’s office this afternoon, hoping to ask some of the same questions Sheriff Easter asked the CIS.

However, they never got back to KSN to clarify why they believe the county is a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and what can be done to fix the issue.

Sheriff Easter did give us a copy of the county’s policy.

It says the county jail accepts people solely arrested for the charge of “illegal alien” or, if they’re arrested for committing other federal, state or local laws.

The Bureau of Immigration Control and Enforcement (BICE) must provide a booking document and probable cause form.

Once a person has been arrested, the county notifies BICE.

If the BICE hold is the only charge left, the undocumented immigrant must be picked up within 48 hours of the notification and, if BICE doesn’t pick up the inmate, they will be released.

Sheriff Easter says this policy went into effect back in February.