Scott County Sheriff says he doesn’t endorse immigration task force letter

More than 60 sheriffs and police chiefs from across the country have issued a letter to lawmakers, saying they don't want their officers helping with federal immigration enforcement.

The letter from the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force was sent to U.S. Senators on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, and was published in the Washington Post on Wednesday.

The letter calls on Congress to protect funding for 'sanctuary' cities and counties. It also asks lawmakers to leave immigration enforcement to federal agents.

Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane is listed as one of the 63 signers, but he says he never saw the letter until it was published.

"I did not sign onto that letter. So, I don't like the fact that it says that - 'sincerely' - and lists my name, because I'm not a part of that," said Lane.

Lane said he agreed to join the national Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force to stay informed on immigration issues, but he doesn't endorse everything in the letter.

For one, Lane says he can foresee situations in which local officers would help with immigration enforcement.

"I could definitely see it happening, yeah," said Lane.

Lane said illegal immigration is not a big problem locally. The Scott County Jail deals with about a dozen undocumented immigrants annually, which is a small fraction of the 300 daily inmates.

Lane said he didn't intend to take a political stance; he simply wanted to stay ahead of a changing immigration system.

"There will be changes in immigration. They are coming, and I'm going to watch and see what they are, so Scott County can be prepared for it," said Lane.

The national coordinator for the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force said members were emailed a copy of the letter in advance, and they could have opted out if they did not want to be associated with it.