We’ve Got Issues: Benzie Sheriff talks immigration enforcement

Jun 19, 2017

Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel
Credit Michigan Sheriffs' Association

Law enforcement officials in Michigan are talking about what President Trump’s immigration policies mean for them. 

The Trump administration has made a priority of deporting people living in the country illegally. Normally immigration enforcement is the job of the federal government – not local sheriffs. But sheriffs and local police departments do sometimes play a role in the process. 

Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel says nothing has changed for his office since President Trump was elected.

Schendel says his office has a long-standing policy of notifying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they arrest someone who they suspect is in the country illegally. 

“If there are extenuating circumstances that might lead us to believe that the person is here illegally,” Schendel says, “then we’ll run the name through the system and determine if they are or not.”

If ICE requests that they detain the person, Schendel says his office will keep the person in jail until federal agents come. Schendel says that has only happened once in his five years as sheriff. 

Schendel hosted the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association for a conference at Crystal Mountain earlier this month. Agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spoke to the group.

“Now Homeland Security and ICE are starting to do their jobs as far as enforcing immigration,” Schendel says, “and I see no reason why not to assist them.”