ELKHART — Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers isn’t interested in working with the federal government to help enforce federal immigration law.
He’s not interested in arresting Elkhart County residents who may be here without legal documentation.
He is focused on arresting people who become a criminal by breaking a law other than driving without an operator’s license.
So he has a simple message for county residents he calls “illegal aliens” because that’s the legal term: “Don’t break the law. If you can’t drive, ride a bicycle.”
That said, he doesn’t believe that driving without a driver’s license is a serious criminal offense and urges his deputies to ticket rather than arrest if the identity of the driver can be determined.
“I tell them if it at all possible, cite and release,” he said in an interview this past week in his office.
In his bi-weekly column on March 3 in The Goshen News, Rogers delineated how he doesn’t want to participate in the 287(g) program that deputizes local officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
Rogers is a conservative constitutionalist. He’s even libertarian. But he’s not stereotypical or even predictable when it comes to immigration or other issues. He said, “I don’t check my mind at the door. I think for myself.”