Utah Sheriffs 2nd Amendment



“Any candidate blaming local officials for the failures of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is demonstrating to voters that they don’t understand important issues facing our state and country,” said Sheriff Mike Smith, President of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association.

“It’s bizarre that Republican candidates for high office would keep repeating false statements that have been walked back by the Biden Administration,” Smith continued. “It’s even more bizarre that candidates in Utah would malign local law enforcement without first knowing the facts.”


Last year, a draft memo was put out by ICE’s Salt Lake City Field Office Director Michael Bernacke titled “Sanctuary State Designation for the State of Utah”. In this memo, Bernacke took it upon himself to declare Utah a sanctuary state. He made absurd claims that Utah sheriffs are destabilizing ICE’s law enforcement capabilities in Utah and surrounding states. State leaders joined Utah’s sheriffs in voicing strong objection, and ICE immediately rescinded the draft memo.

Historically, not all sheriffs in Utah have been willing or able to house federal detainees in county jails. Those who did contract with ICE have been subjected to unending federal mandates, regulations that are not based upon constitutional rights, legal standards not based on case law, and demands that ICE detainees receive special treatment far exceeding what incarcerated U.S. citizens receive.

The demand that ICE detainees receive special privileges is accompanied by audits and threats of lawsuits from liberal Washington DC based special interest groups. The ICE policies and practices under the Biden Administration have made it impossible for Utah’s sheriffs to house their civil detainees.

Now some candidates for office are openly citing the rescinded ICE memo and demagoguing on the issue using false information. As the election year continues and the political season heats up, Utah’s sheriffs respectfully request that candidates running for office at least reach out and ask a sheriff before taking positions and issuing statements that are directly related to the work they do.


Sheriff Mike Smith issued the following statement to all candidates as an invitation to reach out and ask a sheriff before taking positions and issuing statements that are directly related to the work sheriffs do:

“We have seen recent statements from candidates running for various political offices in Utah attempting to blame local officials for the failures of the federal government to enforce immigration laws. Some are even claiming that individuals are breaking Utah laws and not being arrested or detained. This is not true. 

Unfortunately, these candidates have not even bothered to ask a sheriff about the issues. If they had, they would know that anyone arrested for criminal charges in Utah are processed through the Utah justice system, regardless of their citizenship status. We have individuals who are in this country illegally and who have broken state laws that are in our jails right now. Those criminal charges go through our state courts just like they would for anybody else. 

Utah’s sheriffs, sheriffs from across the country, and the citizens of this Nation have paid the price for the failure of the Biden Administration to secure our border. We have watched them dismantle our border security. We have watched them thwart efforts of border sheriffs and leaders in border states trying to stop the massive flow of undocumented criminals and individuals into our country. We have watched as organized crime has gained a stronger hold on our border than our own government. To claim the current border crisis and its impact on Utah is the fault of Utah’s sheriffs or Utah leaders, is a ridiculous attempt to shift blame.

We call on ICE and the Biden Administration to do their job and secure our borders, and we invite candidates running for office to reach out and ask a sheriff so they can understand the facts before trying to score cheap political points.”