A South Carolina sheriff is making headlines for voicing his support to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers — a sharp contrast from the policy recently enacted by a neighboring North Carolina sheriff.
Buncombe County, located in North Carolina and adjacent to South Carolina’s Spartanburg County, has dumped its policy of holding prisoners suspected of living illegally in the United States for ICE.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told several local news stations he’s disappointed with the decision of his colleague, Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller.
“He might be a wonderful gentleman,” Wright said about Miller, according to WYFF News 4. “I just didn’t care for the police he set forth, and I want the people in Spartanburg to know we’re going to go after all criminal elements. We’re not going to think how this could look to a certain group.”
Meanwhile, Miller told WSPA-7 News that “it is vital that members of our immigrant community can call the sheriff’s office without fear when they are in need of assistance from law enforcement.”
Spartanburg County, however, has yet to sign on to the federal agreement that deputizes local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws. Wright noted that his county’s detention center must increase its number of beds before it can join the agreement with the Department of Homeland Security.
“I’d like to remind everyone that ICE is our partner,” Wright told WYFF News 4. “They’re not the bad guys.”
In response to another department’s new policy on ICE, Sheriff Chuck Wright declared support for federal immigration agents. https://t.co/UKNPcAUe9Z
— WSPA 7News (@WSPA7) February 27, 2019
Politics may be playing a role in the dueling decisions. Buncombe County, which includes the city of Ashville, recently elected Miller, a Democrat as sheriff and in 2016 supported the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump by a 56-41 margin.
Spartanburg County, meanwhile, overwhelmingly backed Trump over Clinton by a 63-34 margin.
In 2016 Spartanburg County voters also reelected Wright, a Republican, with a whopping 86 percent of the vote.
Wright has served as sheriff since 2005.