Longview, TX — Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano is reviewing his department’s policy toward learning the citizenship status of people brought to his lockup.
Speaking to the Republican Club of Gregg County Thursday, the sheriff said it is illegal to stop someone simply to determine citizenship.
“What you can do is, if they have committed a criminal offense or traffic offense, that can be asked,” he said, responding to a question. “Once you arrest them on that state charge, then you can contact (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). And ICE determines ... whether that person is an illegal alien.”
That is what’s being done now, he said, adding that arrest reports include a space for an arrestee’s place of birth.
The volume of arrests and necessity of getting patrol deputies back on patrol leave it up to the county officer’s discretion whether to pursue a determination of citizenship, Cerliano said.
“We currently have it under review whether we should adjust that policy,” he said, describing a potential shift of citizenship determinations from arresting deputies to jail staff.
He added that shift would hinge on factors, including whether there are enough jailers and how much of their time it could take. Such a change also would mean his staff would be responsible for inmates brought in by other law enforcement agencies
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