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Federal Immigration Order Won't Affect LCSO Operations

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A new federal policy means virtually all undocumented immigrants are targets for deportation, not just those with criminal records. But the order won’t change the operations of Leon County law enforcement.

The federal government has a lot of freedom in setting immigration law. While the Trump administration is doubling down on deportations and hiring more agents, the new policy doesn’t change the job of local law enforcement. Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil says the agency will continue to notify the federal government when undocumented residents commit crimes. But he says local officers aren't involved in deportations.

“That’s the federal government. They have that choice. We will continue to cooperate and will do everything we can to help them facilitate their process. But we will not actively ourselves engage in deporting and going after people who are illegally in our community,” McNeil.

And he says undocumented immigrants are an important part of communities and economies.

“To the extent that they’re not violating state law, and not creating a crisis for the citizens of our community, we’re gonna continue to do our job. And as I said, we’re gonna let the federal government do their job,” McNeil said.

Under the order, the federal government can authorize local officers to help with deportation. But McNeil says Leon County does not plan on participating.

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.