Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey: ‘Enforcement of immigration laws is not the job of the Sheriff’

Mike Downey sheriff

Sheriff Mike Downey at an earlier event. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

In recent weeks there have been several inquiries regarding the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office policy regarding immigration enforcement and cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security; US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Sheriff’s Office recognizes that Executive Orders from President Trump and immigration laws are a complex and sensitive matter and this has been highlighted in recent weeks. I acknowledge the necessity of communicating with all federal law enforcement regarding dangerous criminals booked into county jails. This need arises from a desire to protect all members of our community from those who pose a credible public safety threat, not from a desire to enforce immigration law on a day-to-day basis. As the Sheriff of Humboldt County, I serve to protect the public safety above all else.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office mission is to provide competent, effective and responsive public safety services to the people of this community. We recognize our responsibility to maintain order, while affording dignity and respect to all persons. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct while serving the people of Humboldt County.

Enforcement of immigration laws is not the job of the Sheriff and my office does not and will not conduct proactive or reactive immigration enforcement duties in this community. Our #1 priority is to investigate crime and make our community safe. My office would like to encourage the community to continue to report crimes and to seek protection and assistance from the Sheriff’s Office, regardless of their immigration status.



  • Wow, selective enforcement of laws where the local officer deems which laws to enforce. How about upholding your oath.

  • Don’t think that is what was said or implied. Read carefully.

  • Just keep watching the shiny things folks- while DJT and his cronies stuff their pockets……..

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    He needs to labor building the wall before his deportation into Mexico.
    Anyone convicted of a crime with a ten year or more sentence should labor on building the wall before banishment into Mexico.
    Emptying the jails of hardened criminals, by Mexican Banishment saves money, and creates a safer America. There is nothing stopping America from using Mexican Banishment For Life, it can be done, and would make America great again.

    • Sleepy Alligator

      I wish we could deport your keyboard to Mexico.

      • It was probably made there, I wonder if it’s here legally, hbc could be harboring an illegal Mexican keyboard

    • You do of course, realize your posts make you come off as Totally Stark Staring Batsh!t Crazy right???!!! But then again judging by past posts it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that You Are!!! I freely admit that I am, how ’bout you???

      • Luckily this move will give the sheriff more time to spend rooting out the devil lettuce that has corrupted our county. Save the youth and report all devil lettuce to the authorities for a Great-Again Humboldt County!!

  • “Our #1 priority is to investigate crime and make our community safe.”

    But illegal immigration is a crime.

    • Being an illegal immigrant is not a crime. Unless you have documentation that legally allows you in the US, and you are seeking permanent residence; you are here illegally under federal law. People here illegally and wishing to stay in the US, need to begin the process of establishing citizenship. Expecting to stay in the US without following federal law is grounds for deportation, not criminal arrest. Basically, Downey does not have to search for or check for illegals, but if federal officials (ICE) come here to enforce immigration, it is his duty to assist them. Immigrant should be encouraged to become citizens if they want a life where they are not in constant fear of being deported. Becoming a sanctuary city would not supersede federal laws or protect them from ICE.

      • My apologies…..second sentence should separate legal docs and residence. If you have residence without legal docs, you are considered an ‘illegal immigrant’; which is not a criminal offense. Criminal arrest of an illegal person would obligate Downey to incarcerate and/or contact immigration for deportation.

      • Strawman. Entering the US illegally is a crime. It is called improper entry.

        • Being illegal is not a criminal offense. Being illegal without proper documentation is grounds for deportation;, but it is not a crime. Look up the law.

          • C’mon man. Being here without legal status documentation or even overstaying a visa is a federal crime. What do you think illegal means? Get it together…

      • Lies . Being in this country illegally makes you a criminal . Definition of criminal is a person who has committed a crime . Entering the us unlawfully is a crime . Hence they are criminals . It’s like saying your not a criminal if you don’t get caught robbing a bank . Sorry you are wrong

        • Wasn’t it originally, Just suppose to be bad guys, we were not gonna separate families etc. The sheep agreed. A year later, and they say they are now all criminals. The sheep jumped off the cliff together or maybe just their kind morals did?

          This is how the Nazi’s screwed the Jewish people. 1st they just wanted em to leave, accusing them of taking jobs and ruining Germany. Eventually they were sent to the ghettos and if that wasn’t bad enough, then the concentration camps. There we’re so many, the easiest solution WaS to exterminate. If we get overloaded with deporting Mexicans, exterminate, will you support this too? Oh it’s ok cause they are all criminals now!

          Stop eating the fish food. Use your brain.

        • Kilapotomus,
          Jay-walking is against the law, but not a crime. There is no criminal code to arrest someone for jay-walking. You may get a ticket for a civil infraction, but you cannot be arrested. Undocumented immigration is the same. A law can be broken without a crime being committed. Please educate yourself about the subject before making a comment. [edit]

          • Wrong
            Check it out . It’s illegal to enter the us without permission . It is a crime . Quit making things up

            • uhhh ya, ok, sure!

              Aw how cute, someone’s trying to educate themself! In your attempt to criminalize every immigrant, you over looked this phrase in your pasted link,
              “attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact!”
              Many of these immigrants were not falsely hiding anything. Many in CA had a valid state license and were waiting for their paperwork to finish, thus the current courthouse ICE stalkers. These immigrants, who were not hiding before, were seeking amnesty, which is also US LAW. Not criminals but amnesty seekers, no law broken, Thank you, nice try, come again!

              Here’s a lil brief history for Ya since you interested in copy n paste so much.
              History of US Immigration and Amnesty
              The storied history of United States amnesty began many years ago, as this is not a new topic. The immigration issue may have become more public, but it is an issue that has been around a long time. In fact, the immigrants have helped form America into the great melting pot that it is. Immigration is a very important part of US history. Before the United States became the way it is today, hundreds of thousands of immigrants settled on its land. The United States now have their own US Amnesty policy that can grant illegal immigrants a US pardon. This Amnesty policy is based on the fact that immigration is a large part of The US’ history.

              It is important to understand the history of US immigration to understand what prompted US amnesty policies. Without immigration, there would be no need for amnesty policies. The United States has always allowed immigrants into the country, and it has the most open immigration policy in the world, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. When America was young, it encouraged open immigration to populate the country. States started passing immigration laws after the Civil War. Here is a timeline of important events in the history of US immigration:

              In 1875, immigration became a federal matter.

              In 1891, US Citizenship and Immigration Services was set up.

              Between 1900 and 1920, America’s first massive influx of immigrants occurred when 24 million immigrants came to the United States.

              In 1921, a quota system was put in place. Each nationality was assigned a quota of how many people could come in. The system favored immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.

              In 1924, the US Border Control was set up.

              During 1929 to 1941, the Great Depression years, immigration was low, sometimes dropping to zero.

              In 1951, a formal agreement was struck between the United States and Mexico to import seasonal workers for the agricultural industry.

              In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act, also called the Hart-Cellar Act, was passed. Its purpose was to set up a preference system to encourage skilled immigration to America and to reunite families. It did away with the immigrant’s nationality as a criterion. Immigrants from Asia and Latin America started arriving to the United States.

              The Refugee Act of 1980 was passed to provide emergency admission of refugees.

        • Yes and if you go 65 in a 55 you are a criminal too right? Or don’t wear your seatbelt? Cmon give me a break- the criminals are the people who are dividing us- the politicians who refuse to make immigration laws that work. Your black and white view of the world must make it tough to get along.

      • Thank you!!commen sense.thanks c’mon man you said it perfect.

  • Our number one job is to make money off pot, cough cough I mean make our community safe,

  • DumpTrumptheChump

    Make America smart again – impreach trump

    • Immediately or better yet, SOONER!!! The sooner the better!!! Boot the Veep while you’re about it he’s just a hair’s breadth away from being as cray cray as DJ Donnie!!!

      • That would leave Paul Ryan as president.
        I say leave Trump in office. He is his own worst enemy. He can’t even enact his racist travel ban because he made too many racist statements on the campaign trail.

  • . Back in the mid 80s you had to be a American citizen for employment had to have social security Number.,so I guess that is no longer the case.

    • Many work by committing identity theft in the form of stealing the social security numbers of US citizens, I know three people who had their ss# used by illegal immigrants. It makes things difficult for the victims. The real criminals are those who employ the illegal immigrants, imo.

      • Right you are , without the greedy farmers hiring low cost labor you would not have this immigration problem .

        • So you want to pay more for your produce so we can pay the spoiled lazy white kids $20/hr to prune grapes or whatever? Come on, you like your cheap produce. Farmers aren’t getting rich, believe me. Mexican labor is how it’s done these days. They are honest hardworking great people and they embody the American spirit more than most.

          • 50 tomatoes picked =50 cents for worker . Add 4 cents to each tomato you buy . Pass it on to the worker . You quadruple the pay and only put out 4 cents . Who is being greedy ? I will pay more for my fruit and veggies . Up to 4cents more lol

  • You the man Downey! For all of you who want to enforce the immigration laws let’s start by sending you back to Europe.

  • Lies [edit–please no slurs]. It is his duty to uphold the state and federal laws period . The top executive in law enforcement is the president . He has to enforce all laws or be removed from office . He is an elected official . There are so many supporters that aren’t standing out in the streets it is mind blowing . He thinks he is in the presence of like minded people because they are the loudest right now . The majority want a return to law . This Sherif has been a politician for too long now . Time to retire [edit]

    • Downey is our county Sheriff. He is not responsible for enforcement of federal laws. Read and educate yourself. I would start with the constitution. Maybe the 10th amendment.

      You seem to defend Trump and his lack of ethical or legal behavior. Why don’t you hold him to the same standard as Downey?

  • Are you kidding ! They call trump whatever and you can’t call liberals what they are lol . Just more media censoring. He is a liberal over reaching piece of …..

    • You can call a politician an asshole or a Cheeto but you can’t use slurs directed at groups neither libtards nor repuglians nor calling cops pigs. Nor can you insult fellow commenters. Personally, I think folks should stick to the facts and avoid the slurs altogether. But so far I’m willing to allow greater leeway when talking about public figures.

  • trumpersarewatching

    You do what trump,says Downey!
    Trump said jump so you say how high and where to!
    Your not getting paid to play politician.
    If you dont care then we need to replace you. Dont think your irreplaceable and dont be a Debby downer.
    Watch what you say or your fired.
    You might want to consider hitting the gym and getting back in shape as well, its always funny in taxpayers eyes to have an overweight sheriff thats supposed to be able to catch a thief!
    Ill be forwarding this to trump and dont think your disregard will go unnoticed.

    • a) He’s already retiring.
      b) As the actual sheriff his job is less actually chasing people than sitting down and working out policy.
      c) Actually, he’s voted into office so I’d say that does make him a politician.

      • Johnnyrastaseed

        Guess what kym, enforcing the law is his job, and if you can put 1 and 1 together than that includes all laws of this land immigration included.
        You dont pick and choose which laws to enforce, they are laws for a reason.
        Your stance is clear already, so consider moving to sf they need more liberals.

        • First, Downey is not a liberal. What did you think when he opposed President Obama’s gun control measures? My guess is you haven’t been here long enough to know that.

          Second, according to the Rand Corportation, a conservative think tank, having local law enforcement participate in immigration enforcement is often detrimental in multiple ways.

          Third many law enforcement officials believe it is actually not in their authority to go out seeking people who are not breaking state laws. As one Colorado Sheriff says, “My jurisdictional authority to enforce laws is limited to state and local laws. Peace officers in Colorado have no authority to enforce federal law. If I did, I would be busy arresting pot shop owners who are unquestionably violating federal narcotics laws.”

          Fourth, Humboldt is largely Democrat. We have voted Democrat since 1988 in both congressional and presidential races and we are currently represented by Democrats so…don’t tell me to leave especially as my family has been here longer than yours. I happen to like many conservatives and wouldn’t think of asking them to consider leaving. I think our county benefits from a good mix of ideas. However, people who don’t understand even the political demographics of the county they presume to ask people to consider leaving might want to consider learning a bit more before putting their foot in their mouth.

          • The gun control measure were direct violations of the constitution. Not an interpretation by a judge . It actually violated the words written . Making it an unenforceable law . Unlike this situation where he is actually not enforcing a law . Not an executive order . It’s been a law for a long time

          • Public oficials take an Oath to defend the Constitution. They don’t take an oath to defend their party.
            Anyone who breaks their oath,especially knowingly, faces consequences of stepping down from office, & can be sentenced.

            • Maybe, but to my knowledge, that’s not what we are talking about.

              Federal courts are saying that local law enforcement may choose not to follow federal requests to detain immigrants that have not committed felonies.

              • The same rule should then apply for all citizens, but I don’t see any democrats crying foul over police locking up non “permitted, non documented” patriots with self defense tools.

              • You do realize don’t you that it was the Director of ICE who is purposely setting dangerous felons free, along with thousands of regular illegals, while demanding that HLS stick their finger up YOUR daughter’s vagina or YOUR grandfather’s colon?
                What exactly is their goal?
                The Sheriff’s who accept Grants are signing up to follow the Feds side x side. They are wearing the same hat.
                Those who accept the new molestation goals at airports are also accepting the “border molestation check points” within 100 miles of the ocean. Oregon, for instance, has been running border patrol checkpoints between towns. Don’t be surprised when one day a local cop wearing a federal hat pulls you & your family over for inspection as you exit Redway on your way to G’ville. They’re just following orders mam. National security y’know.

  • His job is to defend the rights of the people from all tyrants foreign & domestic who harm another’s right to life, liberty & private property.
    Only Laws that are Constitutional are the Laws that are in keeping within the confines of the Constitution. If it’s not an enumerated power, the power is not to be authorized. They have no authority to authorize their own power.
    Congress is restricted from making unconstitutional laws & agencies, but they are not being held accountable by the people. It is the people’s duty to rein check the lust for power. Power is one of the strongest lusts to hold under wraps, which is why WE are supposed to do it for/with them.
    Uniform immigration standards is constitutional.
    The state’s oath is first & foremost to the Constitution, then their own Constitution, which also MUST be in keeping with the Constitution.
    The Sheriff’s duty is to protect the people from Constitutional infringements. He is to catch the bad guys who destroy the rights of the people.
    The Governments were created BY the people, to SECURE the LIBERTY of the people. The government does not grant or deny rights, but instead PRESERVES, PROTECTS & DEFENDS our rights. The Sheriff is ELECTED to assure our Liberties are safe guarded, even from power grabbing politicians.
    Congress has grown so corrupt with power grabs & the people so dumbed down through the unconstitutional government ran education system in order to allow them to grab it, that everyone is so confused to the point they’re fighting each other instead of uniting to stop the corruption.
    When any deck is stacked, it is because of corruption. Period.
    The Constitution is a contract which does not allow the stacking of any decks. The decks are on the same ship for Pete’s sakes! You, WE, & I are the bodies of water that are floating the pirate ship. Without us, the pirates would sink.
    What does this have to do with immigration laws? The Constitution clearly provides authority for congress to set uniform rules across the nation. How each uniform rule is met, is the responsibility of each state. Congress set the standard, states set the actions for fullfilling the standard. Your HOR’s, (house of representatives) fund the Constitutional Laws & are supposed to defund the unconstitutional laws. Just because a law was passed, does not mean it was a constitutional law. All unconstitutional laws, feds, state or local, are supposed to be defunded, nullified & scratched. It is OUR duty to KNOW the Constitution so that every sheriff has your back.
    Unconstitutional Laws are often referred to as Immoral Laws. The war on drugs & the war on poverty, for instance, are both Immoral Laws because they treat the people as objects, which they are not. The Powers bestowed to goverments, are object related, not people related. Infrastructure, zoning, etc, do not directly affect the individual’s liberty, but instead assures the people’s rights to choose where to live, work & play. Something for everyone. Every individual must be thoughtfully considered & zoned for.
    No individual, no politician, no group label, are above the law. We are all EQUAL in justice. No individual, no politician, no group are to be favored over any individual.
    The individual is the smallest minority of all.
    We are not a Democracy, we are a Constitutional Republic! In fact, the endless perpetual wars forcing Democracy onto other countries is a huge clue how wrong the “democracy” cliche really is. America was set up to mind her own business, but my how things have changed! We now have war HOR’s bombing foreign countries just so they can come off as heroes on the campaign trail, using sound bites to save the poor refugees of war torn countries. NeoCons-R-US wear both donkey & elephant suits. Some porcupines too!
    Nobody will read this, it’s way too long. But then again, what better time to read long posts than on a rainy day?
    To know the duty of the Sheriff, hook up with Sheriff Richard Mack on youtube. The power of the sheriff series is important.

  • 8 U.S. Code § 1325 – Improper entry by alien

    (a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts

    Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

    (b) Improper time or place; civil penalties Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of—
    (1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or

    (2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.

    Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.

    (c) Marriage fraud

    Any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $250,000, or both.

    (d) Immigration-related entrepreneurship fraud

    Any individual who knowingly establishes a commercial enterprise for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, fined in accordance with title 18, or both.

    • This is the uniform law that Congress passed constitutionally. States must respect constituional laws. (Such as the uniform immigration laws). States can & must nullify the unconstitutional laws. States can’t ignore Constitutional Laws, or change them willy nilly. The states are restricted from interfering with the powers delegated to the government. (10th amendment).
      Immigration was one such delegated duty, protecting our borders (private property).

      • Yes! And Sherriff Mike Downey does not have to go after illegal immigrants, but is obligated to detain any law breakers he encounters such as illegal immigrants and turn them over to ICE. He took an oath of office to enforce the laws of the country, and uphold and defend the constitution of the United States. All law enforcement from county to federal take that same oath.

        • Exactly!
          My first impressions gathered that he meant that he will not be seeking undocumented people out, but that he also will not hide them out if they commit crimes such as robbery,assault, rape, while under his watch.
          This I can agree with. But if he’s saying he refuses to honor his oath even when they’ve committed hardened crimes against others, then no way can I support that.
          Guess I best go reread a few more times.
          I’m still interpreting it to say that if an undocumented reports a dangerous criminal, the undocumented will not be held in question for being undocumented. But if a dangerous undocumented is caught, s/he will have the book thrown at them,including the Ice book.

          My head hurts.

        • Listening to this podcast, it sounds like the govt changed their rules. HLS has decided that Americans must be frisked, while illegals must go free.

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