LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - With the recent surge of migrants, the federal government just approved hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office to assist Border Patrol.
Sheriff Kim Stewart says the primary mission funded by the grant money is drug interdiction and border security — but that doesn't mean deputies are at check points searching for drugs.
Rather, deputies build cases against individuals and alert border patrol about certain vehicles passing through check points.
“We cannot intervene in immigration issues,” the sheriff explained. “We cannot intervene in federal law because we are not in power.”
However, newspaper columnist Peter Goodman claims there have been past occasions where deputies had been enforcing immigration laws.
“It does not seem appropriate for our local law enforcement to be enforcing a federal law because of the consequences of doing that,” he said.
But the sheriff maintains the “rules are clear cut. We aren't going to be stopping peoples cars and asking people to show me their license and show me you're a legal resident of the United States.
Stewart said this year she wants to do something new with a portion of the grant money; she wants to allocate $100,000 of the $800,000 given to help with humanitarian aid - including transportation and food for migrants.