OPINION: SHERIFF BEN WOLFINGER: Americans, warm up to need for I.C.E.

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As the president of the Western States Sheriffs’ Association, I have the privilege of representing sheriffs from 16 states west of the Mississippi River on a variety of issues. One of the most predominant issues facing sheriffs and their counties in the West is border security.

Border security issues do not just impact the few counties on our southern border, they impact every person in this great country. Border security issues drive the problems with foreign cartel-driven illegal drug trade. These cartels are responsible for supplying the vast majority of illegal opiates that are killing thousands of people each year in this country. They are responsible for the surge of methamphetamine that has overtaken our nation. They are also responsible for the human trafficking that is turning girls and boys into addicts and prostitutes.

Don’t you find it odd that when people violate the law and the police take enforcement action, some people blame the police?

Here in the United States, we are a country that believes in the Rule of Law. We recognize that we, the voting public, elect representatives to our legislative branch of government to establish laws and then we hire the police and task them with enforcing the laws. A civilized society works in this fashion.

Now, some people are attacking the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (I.C.E.) agents because they are doing what we, the taxpayers, pay them to do: enforce the law. No law enforcement agency has all of the resources they need. That is why we all must work together toward our common goals.

I.C.E. is a good partner, working with local law enforcement and in particular, local sheriffs. I.C.E. has the resources to help those both rural and urban counties who deal with the multi-national criminal element that comes with a lack of proper border security.

Instead of dismantling a resource that is doing their job, let’s continue to provide leadership and direction, partnership and collaboration. Let’s enforce the Rule of Law until that time when the law itself is changed through proper process, and then we will enforce that, too.

• • •

Ben Wolfinger is Kootenai County sheriff and president of the Western States Sheriffs’ Association.

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