Hillsborough board chairman 'deeply opposed' to becoming sanctuary for undocumented immigrants
TAMPA — Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White said Thursday he is “deeply opposed” to designating the county as a sanctuary for immigrants.
The declaration, made in a memo to his colleagues, comes a day after the county’s Diversity Advisory Council voted to recommend that Hillsborough considers becoming a so-called “sanctuary county.”
White said as board chairman he “does not intend to bring this issue before the board for discussion,” though he noted other commissioners have the authority to place it on a commission meeting agenda if they wish.
“I am not in support of Hillsborough County being anything less than a county that respects and follows the rule of law,” White wrote. “Immigration policy and enforcement is an issue that falls within the realm of the federal government and I have no desire to see Hillsborough County defy or obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration laws.”
The Diversity Advisory Council is a citizen board made up of representatives of various ethnic communities from around Hillsborough County. Members are appointed by county commissioners. The body can make recommendations but has no formal power.
Wednesday night’s meeting to debate whether Hillsborough should become a sanctuary county was flooded with speakers and activists.
President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from any locality that designates itself a sanctuary city or county, though it’s not entirely clear what that designation entails. It generally means the jurisdiction has set up certain protections for undocumented immigrants who face potential deportation.
In Hillsborough County, the Sheriff’s Office complies with requests from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented individuals in county jails if the agency presents an affidavit for probable cause. In 2016, HCSO detained 55 individuals for ICE.