Lawsuit claims Teller County sheriff is working with ICE, in violation of state law

"handcuffs" by whitesun12 via flickr: Creative Commons

The ACLU of Colorado has sued Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, alleging his office is working with federal immigration officers to arrest and detain immigrants in violation of state law. The lawsuit, filed  on behalf of six Teller County residents and taxpayers, and argues that Mikesell is “diverting their tax money from its intended purpose of enforcing Colorado law in order to fund his unlawful plan to enforce federal immigration law.”

The suit focuses on Mikesell’s 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, signed in January, which pays for three deputies to attend a four-week training course in South Carolina, thereby allowing them to make immigration arrests and exercise other immigration enforcement powers. The Teller County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) would be responsible for the ongoing costs of the program. 

On Thursday, the Indy asked the sheriff’s office for reaction to the suit, which asks for an injunction to stop the Teller County 287(g) program; the office had not responded by Friday afternoon.

The ACLU argues the agreement violates the Colorado Constitution, which requires detainees be released after they post bail or resolve their criminal cases, even when federal immigration authorities suspect the individuals may be removable for civil immigration violations. In an ACLU class action lawsuit against the El Paso County Sheriff last year, the court ruled that the sheriff’s practice of holding prisoners past their release date at ICE’s request constituted an unconstitutional warrantless arrest.  

The organization also claims the agreement violates a law enacted by Gov. Jared Polis in May that prohibits local law enforcement agencies from complying with ICE’s request that local law enforcement agencies keep detainees in custody for up to 48 hours after their scheduled release dates so that ICE may detain the individuals. 

“Relying on his 287(g) agreement, Sheriff Mikesell now plans to do exactly what Colorado law expressly forbids: hold prisoners past their release date if they are suspected of immigration violations,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “An agreement with ICE cannot legally authorize a Colorado peace officer to violate Colorado law.” 

This is the second time the ACLU of Colorado has sued the Teller County sheriff, though unlike the previous lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of a detained individual, it includes several Teller County residents. 


  1. The current migration at our border is costing taxpayers a Kings ransom ($17,000 per day ABC news.) Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don’t stay in Mexico when they reach “safety” or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars.

    We have Democrat / Socialist / Activists in the Northern Triangle of South America & Mexico; even as you read this instructing the populations the “benefits” & laws of coming to the USA and to make sure you bring your children and use the the magic words…..”credible fear.” Mexico recently arrested two socialist activists who were instrumental in the organizing of prior caravans,

    Then you have a Democrat House saying the crisis is “manufactured” as literally thousands attack our border daily? National Sovereignty is a myth to Democrats. The crisis is manufactured…by the Democrats themselves. Make no mistake about this, Democrats want this to happen and never stop.. They will with hold border security support allowing as many illegal aliens to enter the country as possible overwhelming our BP & ICE before assisting in border security (if ever.).

    To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) are permanent programs. There is nothing “temporary or deferred” about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt, against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.

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