Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins took part in a roundtable discussion Wednesday at the White House, along with 44 other sheriffs from 35 states, to discuss immigration reform and border security.
The law enforcement officials, who were joined by a few members of Congress, shared their experiences and challenges with public safety associated with people living in the U.S. illegally, according to a news release.
“It was a good discussion,” Jenkins said Wednesday night. “It was productive from a standpoint of everything, what’s coming on the horizon.”
The sheriff said the roundtable was a question-and-answer format on topics including illegal immigration, the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security and the opioid epidemic.
A discussion also ensued about jail standards for housing detainees and inmates in federal prison, as standards differ between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies. Jenkins said the sheriffs questioned why the standards can’t be the same across all agencies.
At the roundtable, Jenkins said Vice President Mike Pence entered the room to address the sheriffs and to show his support and appreciation of law enforcement. The sheriffs were also treated to a photo op with President Donald Trump.
Karl Bickel, who is running against Jenkins for Frederick County sheriff, said he doesn’t see the matter of illegal immigration affecting the county.
“I think immigration and border security are federal problems and I think the sheriff should focus on the opioid problem,” Bickel said when reached for comment. “We’re not having a criminal problem with immigration [in the county].”
Officials at the roundtable did discuss the opioid epidemic, which Jenkins described not as an epidemic, but as a “large societal crisis.”
“And you can tie that back to a lack of a secure border,” he said.
This was not the first time Jenkins visited the White House on official business. In February, he was one of three sheriffs to meet with President Trump and officials with Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to discuss immigration policy and MS-13, an international gang.
Wednesday’s roundtable was hosted by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.