The Board of El Paso County Commissioners has directed the County Attorney’s Office to appeal an ACLU lawsuit ruling last year regarding the Sheriff’s policy of holding inmates for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The ACLU initiated the lawsuit against Sheriff Bill Elder (18CV30549) Cisneros vs. Sheriff Bill Elder.We've asked for a comment from the ACLU and will update when we hear back.
“As a Board, we’re absolutely united and committed to pursuing appeals as far as the Courts will allow,” stated Board Chair Mark Waller. “This is about standing together for the safety of our community and doing the right thing. By the judge’s own admission, higher courts need to weigh in on this in order to provide certainty. That is why we need to follow this through.”
“I’ve been supportive of an appeal since the ruling last year,” Sheriff Bill Elder said. “I truly believe my office did the right thing by cooperating with ICE officials. I believe an appeal will show my officers acted lawfully. I sincerely hope our actions will be vindicated by a successful appeal.”
Judge Eric Bentley previously granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office from holding undocumented individuals under an ICE hold. After this ruling, the legislature adopted—and the Governor signed— House Bill 19-1124, prohibiting state and local law enforcement officials from arresting or detaining an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer request. The mere fact the legislature passed new law on the matter highlights how unsettled the legal system was when the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was enforcing ICE holds.