The Governor of Maine, Paul LaPage, revealed in a radio interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham that he plans to issue an executive order to remove two sheriffs who he said won’t work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We’ve asked ICE to investigate a few organizations in the state of Maine,” LePage said. “Just last Friday — I’m issuing an executive order right now because we have a couple sheriffs that say they’re not going to work with ICE. Unbeknownst to them, the Maine constitution says if they don’t follow state law, then I can remove them.”
LePage added there was a “likelihood you’re going to be hearing some stories about some sheriffs being removed from their duties.”
Ingraham asked if there were two sheriffs in question, LePage said there was one in particular and one that hadn’t yet declared that he wasn’t going to participate. “But he’s sending signs he’s going to ignore them. If they do, it’s going to be to their dismay.”
According to state law, the Governor of Maine has authority to remove a sheriff if there is a complaint filed by the county commissioners. It is not clear yet whether an official complaint has been received from the Cumberland County Commissioners about Sheriff Kevin Joyce.
Sheriff Joyce has announced in a press conference that he and his department would no longer hold some inmates for federal immigration agents.
Cumberland County Commissioner James Cloutier called LePage’s threat “hot air,” and said no commissioner has proposed a complaint, and none would pass.
“I know of no complaint,” he said. “As far as I know, the Sheriff is completely correct about his stance related to the ICE detention request practice. The county has an agreement with ICE that we will detain lawfully arrested or detained persons, however, the detention of persons who are not the subject of a legal order of restraint has been ruled inappropriate and illegal in several recent court cases. The Sheriff is obeying the law.”
The LePage Administration has said that no removal proceedings have been initiated yet. “However, the safety and security of the children, families, and citizens of the State of Maine is the Governor’s first responsibility. As a state established under the authority of the Constitution 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.” Press Secretary Julie D. Rabinowitz wrote in an email.
Rabinowitz also noted the Executive Order 001-2011 that LePage signed in January of 2011.
“All Maine residents having lawful status are entitled to fair treatment by state officials and access to state services … certain prior Executive Orders may have created the impression that Maine was a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ for those who are in the United States without lawful status … it is the intent of this Administration to promote rather than hinder the enforcement of federal immigration law … I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, under the power vested in me, hereby order as follows: 1. Executive Order 13 FY 04/05, dated April 9, 2004, and Executive Order 34 FY 04/05, dated February 28, 2005, are hereby rescinded, effective immediately. 2. Employees and officials of the State of Maine shall cooperate with employees and officials of the federal government on all matters pertaining to immigration, subject only to any limitations imposed by statutory law or by the Constitutions of Maine or the United States.”
Rabinowitz wrote, “The Governor has the ability to exercise the authority granted to him by Article IX Section 10 of the Maine State Constitution:”
“Removal of sheriffs from office and replacement. Whenever the Governor upon complaint, due notice and hearing shall find that a sheriff is not faithfully or efficiently performing any duty imposed upon the sheriff by law, the Governor may remove such sheriff from office and appoint another sheriff to serve for the remainder of the term for which such removed sheriff was elected. All vacancies in the office of sheriff, other than those caused by removal in the manner aforesaid shall be filled in the same manner as is provided in the case of judges and registers of probate.”
The Governor has stood his ground saying, “We’ve had our problems,” he said. “We’re a border state, and unfortunately, some do come in from Canada, and that’s been a problem. Some come by boat. We have 3,600 miles of coastline. It is a problem.”
Do you support the Governor’s stance that he has authority to remove a sheriff for not cooperating with ICE?
Credit: WCSH6 Portland