Lawsuit opposing Teller County’s cooperation with ICE dismissed

Teller County deputies will continue to work in coordination with federal immigration officials after a lawsuit alleging the practice was illegal was dismissed Tuesday.

Teller County District Judge Scott Sells on Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit by the ACLU of Colorado, according to a news release from the Teller County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office will continue to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under a 287(g) agreement that allows local law enforcement to act as federal immigration enforcement agents.

The Teller County agreement allows deputies to investigate whether people held in their jail should be deported and notify immigration authorities. Many Colorado law enforcement agencies do not investigate arrestee’s immigration status nor convey that information to federal authorities.

“This court ruling allows the sheriff to continue to protect the citizens of Teller County and sustain the way of life this community wants; the freedom to live without fear of those illegal criminal organizations that have prayed upon them in the recent past,” Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell said in the news release.

The sheriff’s office previously settled another lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Colorado in 2018 that alleged deputies were illegally jailing a man based on an ICE detainer.

The sheriff’s office counted both this week’s dismissal and the 2018 settlement as successes. The agency titled its Thursday news release about the dismissal: “TELLER COUNTY – 2, ACLU – 0.”

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