Campbell Officials Respond to "Sanctuary County" Listing, Somali Refugee Questions
The issue of Somali refugees and whether Campbell County is a "sanctuary" for illegal immigrants was discussed at this week's Fiscal Court meeting in Alexandria.
At a previous meeting, Commissioner Charlie Coleman raised questions about whether the Northern Kentucky Area Development District was working to place 2,000 Somali refugees in the county. At Wednesday night's meeting, County Administrator Matt Elberfeld cleared that up. He explained that an employee at NKADD was working on a master's degree in social work and was exploring issues related to the refugee population in Louisville. All the work was done outside of the employee's NKADD responsibilities.
The Boone County Needs Assessment Group expressed interest in learning about the employee's research and since that group meets at the NKADD's Florence office anyway, the research was presented to them there at a the group's regularly scheduled meeting.
"There was a fear that there would be a couple thousand Somali refugees, a collection of two-thousand that may not have been properly vetted and there may be a fear that there was a threat to the public," said Judge/Executive Steve Pendery. "But there aren't two-thousand Somali refugees."
Another issue raised by Coleman was also addressed: a website's listing of Campbell County as a place of sanctuary for illegal immigrants. The website is published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nonprofit organization devoted to reducing immigration to the United States and lists four Kentucky counties: Campbell, Franklin, Woodford, and Scott.
CIS describes the notation as: "Across the U.S., there are over 300 cities, counties, and states that are considered "sanctuary cities". These jurisdiction protect criminal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE detainers or otherwise impede open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration agents."
Kenton County was also on the list, but was removed after Jailer Terry Carl provided information to CIS that showed the Kenton County Detention Center as being in full compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "It means we have either an ordinance or policy that prohibits us from cooperating," said Campbell County Attorney Steve Franzen. But there is no such law in Campbell, he said. "We do not have any ordinance that inhibits or gets in the way of our cooperation with immigration offices."