I want to acknowledge the Walla Walla County commissioners for their “meet and greet” last Aug, 5. The public turnout was huge! All two of us. Guess the lack of audiences indicate to me they must be doing a good job.

I attended to ask one question — why is Walla Walla County a sanctuary county? Commissioner Jim Johnson spoke up forcefully and said it wasn’t. The commissioners indicated they have tried to get that tag removed from the Department of Homeland Security unsuccessfully.

Commissioner Johnson sent me the following: RCW 10.70.140 as mandated, “Whenever any person shall be committed to a state correctional facility, the county jail, or any other state or county institution which is supported wholly or in part by public funds, it shall be the duty of the warden, superintendent, sheriff or other officer in charge of such state or county institution to at once inquire into the nationality of such person, and if it shall appear that such person is an alien, to immediately notify the United States immigration officer in charge of the district in which such penitentiary, reformatory, jail or other institution is located, of the date of and the reasons for such alien commitment, the length of time for which committed, the country of which the person is a citizen, and the date on which and the port at which the person last entered the United States.”

Commissioner Johnson continued. He said we are required to ask about country of birth and do pass along that information to ICE. It is then up to ICE to follow up with a detainer. It is true that we cannot hold a subject solely on an ICE detainer, as those are not considered valid court orders signed by a judge. Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle’s office has been very clear on that and other counties that have done so have paid out huge damage claims.

We do cooperate fully with ICE as required by state law. Sometimes ICE places a detainer on a subject and sometimes it chooses not to. When a detainer is placed, it is then up the ICE to come down and take custody of the subject once our local criminal matter has been resolved.

Other issues were discussed such as wildfires, taxes, I appreciate their time.

Neil Jacobson

College Place

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