LINCOLN COUNTY — Despite the potential for perception to the contrary, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office does not work with federal law enforcement agencies on tracking or detaining immigrants in the country illegally.
When questioned if there were fears in the community that local law enforcement works with federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Sheriff Curtis Landers said he hadn’t heard of any qualms from community members.
“I have not received any specific information on any fear in the county,” Landers said in an email this week. “We are trying to get the message out about the law and to make sure everyone should feel safe when working with local law enforcement.”
Landers was one of several leaders in the community to sit on a panel hosted by Oregon Coast Community College in March, in which panelists discussed issues related to the immigrant population on this stretch of the coast.
“It was a great exchange of information and I asked the group how we could get the message out to more people,” Landers said. “Someone suggested we do a Tip of the Week, since so many people read it.”
In the Tip of the Week, the LCSO said without a federal warrant signed by a magistrate, sheriff’s deputies can’t detain anyone for ICE. That does happen from time to time, but it’s rare.
“I can recall one in the last three years,” Landers said.
With the sheriff’s office’s effort to engage members of various immigrant communities in the county, Landers came across fears in the Hispanic community, predominantly, towards ICE. The longtime sheriff said his office doesn’t enforce federal immigration law and the LCSO treats everyone the same, and usually aren’t even aware of whether or not someone they talk to is an immigrant or citizen.
“We do not ask people what their status is, and so we may not even be aware if they are an immigrant or not,” Landers said. “To me, it is easy. Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated regardless of status. This will help build trust in our co