Wednesday, February 08, 2017

How did Appalachian county where Trump won 83% of the vote get labeled a sanctuary city?

Bedford County, Pennsylvania (Wikipedia map)
Residents in a rural Appalachian county in Pennsylvania who gave President Trump 83 percent of their votes have been shocked to find that they are listed as a "sanctuary city," Todd Frankel reports for The Washington Post. Bedford County is considered a sanctuary city by the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies, two conservative groups with strict immigration views, Frankel writes.

"Sanctuary city" means a protective refuge where local law enforcement officials refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. "Shortly after entering the White House, Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to study how to cut off federal funding for places that do not help federal immigration officials."

Bedford County is 98 percent white and less than 1 percent of its population is foreign-born, "far below the national rate of 13.2 percent," Frankel writes. County Sheriff Charwin Reichelderfer said about the only other nationalities you see in the county are Asians at the local Chinese restaurant and some Hispanic migrant workers employed during harvest in the fruit orchards. County district attorney Bill Higgins said a local politician even suggesting Bedford County be a sanctuary city "would be a quick way to get voted out of office, like signing your political death warrant.”

Temple report
So, how did Beford County get on the list? A 2014 report from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law "examined whether Pennsylvania counties cooperated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to detain suspects for up to 48 hours when their immigration status is in doubt," Frankel writes. "The extra time is to allow federal immigration agents time to pick up the suspect. Whether police honor these detainer requests is at the heart of many sanctuary city designations."

"The Temple report noted, correctly, that Bedford County’s jail policy was to not hold suspects for immigration authorities — because the county was worried about liability," Frankel writes. They do call federal agents when there is a suspected illegal immigrant. At a county commission meeting last week officials announced that "the county jail’s policy had been changed to emphasize that the jail would cooperate with federal immigration agents and detain suspects as needed." Officials are now working to be removed from sanctuary city lists.

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