ALFRED, Maine — A second Maine sheriff has objected to a directive by Republican Gov. Paul LePage that county sheriffs should hold immigrants without a warrant.

York County Sheriff William King says he won’t comply with federal immigration officers who ask him to temporarily hold an inmate scheduled for release, the Journal Tribune (http://bit.ly/2hz3I2t ) reported.

LePage on Tuesday directed the state’s 16 county sheriffs to detain immigrants upon request by federal immigration officers — or be removed from office. The Maine Sheriff’s Association said it has hired an attorney and is working with the National Sheriffs’ Association to look into the legal issue.

King said holding a released inmate for up to 48 hours is a legal problem because it means arresting someone without probable cause.

“Absent legal guidance and absent a command, I’m not going to put the taxpayers at risk of a lawsuit,” King said.

The sheriff, as an example, pointed to a Massachusetts resident born in the Dominican Republican who is being held without bail on drug and driving charges. Federal immigration officials have asked the Alfred jail to hold the man, who has not yet been scheduled for release.

LePage said he’d take steps to remove any sheriff if he receives a complaint that an “undocumented, illegal alien” was released after a federal detention request.

The governor hasn’t named any sheriffs he would target. The governor said Maine law requires sheriffs to obey his law enforcement orders. He also said the Maine Constitution allows a governor to remove a sheriff from office following a “complaint, due notice and hearing.”

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce has announced he’d reject such federal requests. Joyce said detainer requests from immigration officials are a problem when they’re not supported by a court order or warrant signed by a judge.

The governor says that federal immigration officers must issue an administrative warrant and make their own findings of probable cause.

LePage signed an executive order in 2011 calling on “employees and officials” of Maine” to cooperate with the federal government on immigration matters. Joyce denies that the executive order would apply to him.


Information from: Journal Tribune, http://www.journaltribune.com