AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Governor Lepage followed through on a threat he made to radio show Monday morning.
Governor Lepage issued a press release Tuesday that states he has 'sent a letter today to all 16 of Maine’s county sheriffs directing them to do their duty and cooperate with federal officials per his executive order 001-2011, signed January 6, 2011, “An Order to Enhance Cooperation Between State and Federal Law Enforcement Officials.”'
Governor Lepage went on to say, 'Under the authority granted to me by law, I am directing you to cooperate with federal immigration officials and follow the provisions of Executive Order 001-2011.'
'As a State established under the authority of the Constitutions of the United States of America and of the State of Maine, the State must do its duty and work cooperatively at the Federal, State, and Local level to enforce the laws that maintain our nation’s sovereignty and keep us safe.'
LePage's order says: “It is the intent of this Administration to promote rather than hinder the enforcement of federal immigration law . . . Employees and officials of the State of Maine shall cooperate with employees and officials of the federal government on all matters pertinent to immigration, subject only to any limitations imposed by statutory law or by the Constitutions of Maine or the United States.”
Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce has told NEWS CENTER he will not hold detainees past required periods of time.
Governor LePage says, 'Morales v. Chadbourne, the federal court ruled that ICE must have probable cause to issue detainer requests to local law enforcement. ICE only issues detainer requests if they have probable cause to believe an inmate is in the country illegally. The detainer request requires ICE officials to indicate the conditions under which they request the detainer, which can be up to a 48-hour maximum.'
The governor believes he has full authority to remove a sheriff. 'Maine law gives the governor the authority to direct county sheriffs, and the Constitution of the State of Maine gives the governor broad authority to remove sheriffs from office who are not faithfully executing their duties. (See Article XI, Section 10, “Removal of sheriffs from office and replacement.”)'
LePage says, 'Because ICE officials must have probable cause prior to requesting a detainer, we should not be putting potentially dangerous illegal aliens back on the streets without granting federal officials the authorized 48 hours of detention,” stated Governor LePage. “My executive order clearly requires this reasonable cooperation on behalf of Maine’s law enforcement officers for the safety of our people. If the sheriffs refuse to comply with state and federal law, I am authorized to take additional action to remove them from office under the Maine Constitution.'
NEWS CENTER will update this story