County Supervisors End Discussions On Illegal Immigration As County Has No Jurisdiction

CUSTER COUNTY— The Custer County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, August 27 saw a number of people fill the usually empty chars to listen in on the topic of illegal immigration.

At the previous meeting, District 7 Supervisor Doug Stunkel made a motion to stop illegal immigration in Custer County after placing the topic on the agenda. While the agenda item was seconded at the time, further discussion was suspended until Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers had a chance to do research into the topic.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Bowers informed the board that there was nothing local governments could do in regards to illegal immigration, because the federal government wants that sole authority.

Bowers used a quotation from a document from the federal government on immigration that states, “Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws in a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patch-work of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.”

Bowers also noted that local law enforcement and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) work together when it comes to immigration, but there is no authority for local law enforcement to deal with any immigration issues alone.

After Bowers finished informing the board on the research he had found, Stunkel said that he disagreed with the findings and those at the local level should have the authority to deal with immigration.

“Maybe we need to create some authority,” said Stunkel

Chairman of the Board Barry Fox backed the information from Bowers and reiterated that the county board has no authority on the issue.

“I think there has been US Supreme Court, Arizona vs. US that shows that we have no jurisdiction and Steve has done the research that shows we have no jurisdiction,” said Fox.

Bowers also told the board that the federal government leaves no room for local enforcement to deal with immigration, which Stunkel agreed with. Stunkel concluded by saying that he wants to make sure that if the federal government fails to do their job, the county could possibly step in and deal with immigration problems.

Other agenda items included the budget requests from the Custer County Historical Society, Seven Valley Historical Society, CHORE and South Central Agency on Aging which will all remain the same as last year. Seven Valley did ask for a slight increase in funds from last year, but the board voted to keep the request the same as last year.

Custer County Recycling Manager Kelly Flynn spoke briefly to the board to give an update on the recycling center. Flynn informed the board that prices continue to be down, especially in cardboard which was noted to be the lowest he had ever seen in 23 years. He did mention that he believed that paper and cardboard should begin to increase in price very soon.

A few of the board members did ask Flynn if he thought that increasing the cost of bringing in recycling from surrounding counties would benefit the center. Flynn thought that it could, but was hesitant due to the possibility of the counties deciding to go somewhere else.