Two members of the Frederick County delegation have sent a letter to the state attorney general’s office, asking for an opinion related to the 287(g) program.

Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-District 3A) said Friday that she and Sen. Ron Young (D-District 3) drafted a letter and sent it about two months ago, regarding who has oversight over the sheriff and the program.

“We wrote a two-and-a-half page request that asked for clarification on not specifically the 287(g) program ... but who governs the sheriff’s authority within the scope of decision-making on the 287(g) program,” Lewis Young said.

The 287(g) program allows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to train sheriff’s deputies to ask about the immigration status of anyone booked into the county’s adult detention center, and begin deportation proceedings if necessary.

Lewis Young said she has not yet heard an answer from the attorney general’s office. She added the reason she and Sen. Young wrote the letter is because many of their constituents have expressed concern about the implementation and oversight of the program.

In it, they ask, among other questions:

  • Is Frederick County government, through its budget process, authorizing the 287(g) program?
  • Does the sheriff have the authority to enter the 287(g) agreement without the state authorizing it?

County Executive Jan Gardner (D) said Friday she stands by County Attorney John Mathias’ opinion, which states that she does not have the authority to sign that agreement.

“Under the state law and under some court decisions, the county cannot direct the law enforcement duties of the sheriff,” Mathias said in an interview earlier this month.

Mathias cited a court decision from the state’s Court of Appeals in 1989, Rucker v. Harford County, which states any changes to the sheriff’s authority must come at the state level.

“County officials may not directly abridge the functions and duties of a sheriff under the common law and enactments of the General Assembly,” that opinion states. “As our cases make clear, only the General Assembly can change the duties and functions of the sheriffs.”

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said he believes state law gives him the right to enter into the 287(g) agreement.

“In my eyes, as the authority I have as the sheriff under the [state] constitution, I have the authority to enter into that agreement as the chief law enforcement officer and the head of corrections,” Jenkins said.

Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) said Lewis Young “has the right” as a delegate to ask for an opinion from the state attorney general. He added he agreed with Mathias’ opinion that neither Gardner nor any county executive would have the authority to sign the 287(g) agreement on behalf of the sheriff.

Del. Carol Krimm (D-District 3A) said she isn’t an expert on law enforcement matters, but added she too agreed with Mathias.

“I respect John Mathias, so if he says that the sheriff is an elected official and can enter into those agreements, then I would agree with his opinion,” Krimm said.

Hough noted that even if the attorney general’s opinion disagrees with Mathias’, it is not legally binding. Only a court decision would be, he added.

“It’s just simply an opinion that she asked for ... ultimately, it’s an opinion, it’s not binding, it’s not law,” Hough said.

Del. Dan Cox (R-District 4) declined to comment on the attorney general letter Friday, but added that he agreed with Mathias.

“The scope of authority of the Sheriff’s office is already guided by the law and Constitution, so apart from a court order directing otherwise the Sheriff’s interpretation governs,” Cox said in an email.

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Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(47) comments


Section 287(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deputize selected state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law.[1][2] Section 287(g) allows the DHS and law enforcement agencies to make agreements, which require the state and local officers to receive training and work under the supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Its pretty clear that local officers are deputized federal officers and thus are supervised by the feds. Duh


Facepalm all around. The sheriff is authorized by Federal law to participate in 287g through a MOU with the feds. The sheriff deputies are acting as Federal agents. As Federal agents of ICE they are supervised by ICE. It's simple. Learn to read.


287(g) is a waste of money, nothing is preventing federal authorities from carrying out their operations anywhere on US soil. It's a way for federal authorities to have their work done for them by local LE which has its own problems to deal with. If the program was such a hit, many more conservative counties in the country would participate.


If it wasn’t for FCSO’s participation in the 287g program, an illegal illingrat would NEVER have won a civil suit in excess of $1mil against the county. The suit has been settled and the parties have agreed to a gag order.


Dems need more illegal votes to stay in power. That's the only reason they care about 287g.


The gop is the Dems best advocate right now


It's sad that you fell for the misinformation campaign orchestrated by Russia with help from Trump, Limbaugh, et al.


Show me actual proof illegals are voting in federal elections. Trump made that allegation, then fell flat on his fat face.


I can't tell you about illegals, but an audit in NC found legal non-citizens voted in the 2016 election.
"41 non-citizens with legal status (green card, etc.) cast ballots. The State Constitution only permits U.S. citizens to register and to vote. The audit pairing state and federal databases identified an additional 34 voters who provided documents showing they are U.S. citizens. Investigators continue to review 61 additional records [of people who did not respond to the letter sent by the North Carolina State Board of Elections]."
More than likely, illegals were not included in the Federal databases used for comparison with NC records.


Talk about wasting money,this takes the cake!

19 out of 4.8 million, glen?  Lol Noncitizens Voted Illegally in 2016 in North Carolina, U.S. Charges Nearly 4.8 million people voted in North Carolina’s 2016 general election, and election officials said last year that about 500 of those ballots had been cast by ineligible voters, the vast majority of them barred from voting because they had felony records. Many of those said they did not know that their criminal record prevented them from voting.


Dick - They evidently charged only 19, but the numbers from the audit (at least 41 and possibly as many as 102) still stand. If you read the audit, you'll see that some folks were genuinely confused. Given they were immigrants - likely with limited English language skills - they wouldn't necessarily be charged. As small as the number is (~1 in 50,000 to 100,000), it is proportionately much greater than the 1-in-588-million figure bandied about by folks (including the FNP in 2017) who seemed to think that our election system performs more reliably than any other human institution. LOL indeed!


So non-consequential. People who cannot vote in the US don't have an incentive to vote, the potential punishment puts in danger any ability they may have to become a US citizen, aka juice ain't worth the squeeze.


Oh my goodness, hope he didn't mess up that mess of hair he has. [unsure]


Thank you, Youngs for asking the right questions. The Sheriff cannot be allowed to go unsupervised. Voters have only the power every 4 years and that is not supervision. That is hiring or firing.


[thumbup][thumbup] Exactly and how many of the good 'ole boys really know what they are voting for?


They don’t.


How many of any voters make the effort to know what they're really voting for versus just voting party lines (if affiliated with any party)? How many understand the true costs (ecnomic, environmental impact, quality of life, etc.) of the policy positions promoted by politicians they vote for?


How dare they ask the Maryland attorney general for a Maryland legal opinion. That is so out of line and an outrageous attack!


The question is who authorized the Frederick County Charter. If that's authorized by the State, it does change the Sheriff's authority.


These two need to butt out.


Stacked deck. The MD attorney general has made Maryland California east. He will, as well as these two, do everything in his power to undermine the rule of law.


Hi Kirbie!


Niceund claims to live in Maryland and to be retired military, that is not Kirby.


Dick, look at Kirbies personal FB Page. All he and his minions talk about is how Frederick county is becoming California. LOL

Well, had Kirbie and ba’lane not developed every farm in the county - the county wouldn’t be blue now.


The 287g program is an optional program that very few jurisdictions both those led by Republicans and those led by Democrats choose to participate in. It is not the rule of law.


Seems to me that it is a correct move to ask for a state level opinion on the program. That should provide an answer that both sides would have to respect.


That has not been my experience with the atorney general's office. They helped me deal with MoCo pre-payment of property tax when thcounty attorney incorrectly interpreted the requirements (the Atty General's office validated my position) and they correctly supported my assertion that I could use my NY certificate of birth registration (not birth certificate) as legal proof of who I am for the new driver's license thus reversing an employee's refusal to accept that documentation as proof of citizenship. His lawsuits (while some are good and some are a waste in my opinion) do not undermine the rule of law, they merely ask the courts to determine what the rule of law is and that it be enforced.


I agree 100%. Those two are perfect examples of what's become wrong with what was once a fine state. I used to be proud to be a Marylander but not anymore. I only still live in Frederick County because of an old saying I once heard which is along the line of "No land has more power over a man then that which where he was a child." I have a plot in Glade Cemetery, about three miles from where I grew up in Ceresville and, hopefully, I'll be in it before Maryland has been completely Californicated.


Hopefully is right


What do you mean by that Kelly?


You can live anywhere you’d be happier CD, you can still be interred in Glade Cemetery. Go for it, move to Conservativille with a return ticket. You can still join us from afar.


Yes, please. Times are changing.


Butt out of what? Their jobs? Counties in Maryland have the powers and pretty much only the powers granted to them by the state government. These two are part of the state government. Like it or not, they are doing their jobs. If they were elected officials from, say, Pennsylvania, you would be right on the mark.




One should listen to their own advice.


No disagreement here about any sheriff having the authority to make decisions. Clear and concise. But, who is responsible for budgeting for the 287 program? See, the law that Mathis refers to does not address expenditure. So, if a sheriff desires to have his / her deputies run radar all weekend long - they have that authority, that’s what the law implies. But - how bout the expense of a program like 287? The law doesn’t address expenses


No, and the Sheriff is locking the County into an agreement to spend County money, which is not within his authority.


Right, that’s what I’m referring to


And that’s where the case law that Mathis references falls short. The referenced case law fails to address a sceneries such as we have


KellyAlzan, So according to your "logic" the Sheriff has to have County permission to hire janitor staff, buy paper clips, buy computers, etc., etc.

Per the decision cited, the Sheriff has the authority to enter into the agreement. Once having done so, the expenses would be the same as any other costs the Sheriff incurs as a result of performing his duty.

Uh, I do believe that your test answer will be marked wrong.


The Sheriff has some authority, but this is a major expense, not the trivia you cite.


Asian, that’s not at all what I wrote. Or implied. Not at all


So disappointing. Our human existence is in decline when enforcing laws becomes unacceptable. I have respected many Ron's views but simply checking an arrestee's status is not unreasonable. Ron has been instrumental in making Frederick what it is today and he deserves all the credit. Back in the 1970's when intoxicated person(s) loitered on benches on the square Ron removed the benches which was a good move. I am worried that in today's world Ron would add more benches and allow tents AKA San Francisco and LA.




Well at least we all know you didn’t read the story


Girlpolitic, why would Ron need to add benches or tents when we have a free public library? That’s way more comfortable and inviting.



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