PA Sheriffs Urge Congress to Uphold ‘Rule of Law,’ Put Partisan Politics Aside on Border Security

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – The Sheriff’s Association of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, like many law-enforcement agencies and groups across the country, is concerned about border security.

To show its support for strengthening the nation’s borders, the association recently sent a letter to members of the United State Congress urging them to uphold the “rule of law” and put partisan politics aside when it comes to border security issues.

The letter, in part, reads “The Rule of Law should be followed in all facets of our government because without this basic tenet we are no different than some of our identified current enemies in this most important area. We realize that partisan politics and personal agenda are always in play and evident in many levels of government. No one is safe from this matter of threat. You all too must ‘fight the good fight’ t rid our government of these issues in order to better serve your constituents a carry on the powerful role that you play. With all of the above in mind, we are requesting that your discussions and decision in relation to our border security issues reflect your most pure sense of duty and responsibility. The most recent announcement from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra that he will prosecute law-abiding business owners if they cooperate with law enforcement to identify and remove lawbreakers from the community does not even remotely reflect a full understanding an interpretation of the current laws. The Sheriffs and Deputies of our nation and all our law enforcement partners understand that the oath we took to uphold and enforce ALL of our laws in the guarantee that the citizens can trust us to preserve their safety, security, and well-being. We are very simply asking you to abide by this same oath in your daily interpretation and writing our laws”

California recently passed a state law – the Immigration Worker Protection Act – that could impose a fine of up to $10,000.00 on businesses and employers in the state who provide employee information to U.S. Immigration official.

According to a story on, “The law prevents workers of any immigration status from being detained at workplaces. Among other stipulations, federal officials must obtain a warrant before searching a worksite and employers are required to notify their workers before a federal audit of employee records.”

The efforts piggyback, in a way, onto letter from the National Sheriff’s Association to Congress about the same issue, but instead of signing that letter, many Pennsylvania Sheriff’s believed their own letter was warranted.

The National Association’s letter asked Congress to take action on “the security issues at the border and against sanctuary policies in our states, cities, and towns.”

According to Tom Maioli, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association, Pennsylvania’s Sheriff’s decided to write their own letter.

“Our sheriffs decided to do their own letter,” Maioli said. “It was something that went through our executive committee. They decided to do their own. We are a pretty diverse group, and there are several members of the executive committee. I couldn’t speak for each one individually as to why they wanted to do their own.”

Locally, Jefferson County Sheriff Carl Gotwald said the executive board usually makes the decisions on correspondents like the letter.

“The letter was done by the state association and I acknowledged the letter,” said Gotwald.

Gotwald said he believes the borders should be protected.

“I don’t think anybody should just walk in,” explained Gotwald.

“There is a process, and we let in anyone if they go through the process. There is law in every country. You can’t just run across the border and say I want welfare or healthcare. Who is going to pay for it? We just signed a $1.3 trillion budget.”

Forest County Sheriff Robert Wolfgang said he has signed a letter from the national association in the past and was aware of the current efforts.

“We try to support any legislation or on-going issue that affects anyone (of our fellow sheriffs) in general,” Wolfgang said. “I signed the earlier (national) one. I probably haven’t signed the second one yet, but I probably will. We need to stiffen up security on the borders. I know President Trump is trying to accomplish it. I am for it. I think there are a lot of issues the come from over the border.”

Wolfgang said he sees it as a way to support his fellow sheriffs.

“I want to support our fellow sheriffs who are at the border,” Wolfgang said. “They deal with it more than we do. We get some of it. But more than anything, it is for our fellow sheriffs to make jobs easier and their counties safer.”

Clarion County Sheriff Rex Munsee said he has heard that originally some thought the Pennsylvania Sheriffs had signed the national association’s letter that was dated in late March, but that wasn’t the case.

“There was an honest misunderstanding,” Munsee said. “I think the National Sheriff’s Association thought we had because we had in the past. They apologized for using our names. I was happy with that. Our organization (Pennsylvania Sheriff’s) is supposed to have its own letter, which I haven’t seen yet. I would like to see the state letter. I haven’t made up my mind up if I will sign it. I don’t know what they are pushing or opposed to or in favor of.”

The local sheriff’s said border issues are obviously not a big issue in the area, but they see the letter as a way to support fellow sheriffs in regions of the country where it is a bigger issue.

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