FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2020

Contact: Greeley O’Connor, Managing Director,

SOMERVILLE, MA. – Political Research Associates (PRA)—a 4-decades old national nonprofit research and strategy center that monitors and counteracts anti-democratic forces—has published a comprehensive, interactive map quantifying the widespread influence of two far-right networks, the Patriot and anti-immigration movements, on county sheriffs. 

Key Findings:

  • The patriot/militia movement has claimed 401 (of 3081) sheriffs as “constitutional” since 2013. Of those sheriffs, 161 are currently in office, with a significant presence in the leadership of state sheriffs’ associations and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
  • Local cooperation agreements with ICE have quadrupled since January 2017. As of June 2020, ICE had formalized over 130 agreements with local law enforcement agencies.

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Several months of widespread peaceful protests condemning the racially discriminatory and often fatal policing have drawn media and policymaker attention to systemic racism in local law enforcement. PRA Executive Director Tarso Luís Ramos on the impact of right-wing alignment in sheriffs’ departments: 

“As our research demonstrates, the historical association of county sheriffs with racist and far-right movements continues to this day. Along with ICE, sheriffs are Trump’s front line for anti-immigrant policing and deportation. With tools like this map, PRA is providing resources for movements that are holding law enforcement accountable to community needs and to our constitutional guarantees of equal justice, movements that are building real, multiracial feminist democracy.”

The map is intended as a resource for journalists reporting on, and movements working against, the far-right, systemic racism in law enforcement, and local implementation of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. 

“I have dedicated my career both to examining the role sheriffs play in advancing ‘crimmigration’ policies and building progressive alternatives. While it is widely known sheriffs historically upheld White supremacy, visualizations like this make it clear how expansive these right wing networks are today, and allow advocates who are facing similar challenges from law enforcement across localities to build more robust alliances.” -Felicia Arriaga, North Carolina Statewide Police Accountability Network Coordinator

For a deep dive into far  right-aligned sheriffs, PRA is hosting a roundtable discussion this Thursday, September 17th at 4pm ET featuring Cloee Cooper and Ethan Fauré, the two PRA research analysts behind the map, and PRA movement partners: Juan Miranda-Siembra NC, Ash-Lee Henderson– Highlander Center, and Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood–Asian American Advocacy Fund.