Trump Administration Ratchets Up Pressure On Sanctuary Cities
Mar 22 2017 by Dustin Murphy
Between Jan. 28 to February 3, ICE issued 3,083 detainers but it is unclear how many have been honored, according to Fox News. Roughly two-thirds were from Travis County.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have regularly requested local authorities to hold immigrants living in the country illegally beyond their normal release date in order to facilitate their deportation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Monday that the report's findings demonstrate a "clear and ongoing threat to public safety". It is meant to "highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans", the agency said in a news release.
Inquiring about a person's immigration status could discourage people from calling on police in emergencies and to report crimes, he said.
Some jails and police agencies around the US have opted in recent years not to cooperate with immigration authorities on detainers. The right-leaning, Libertarian Cato Institute reported on March 15 that "all immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives relative to their shares of the population". Many jurisdictions within Washington state have declared themselves to be "sanctuaries".
No names are given, only their county and state, their citizenship and criminal history.
This, from Fox News: "Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, a Democrat, was elected last fall after campaigning on refusing to comply with immigration detainers in cases where people were arrested on minor offenses unrelated to their being in the country illegally".
"We have tried to be cooperative and it's unfair and misleading to suggest that we're not - especially in these times", Capt. Michael Golio toldthe New York Times, adding that ICE told him it would remove the county from its next report. The grant money was for programs for veterans, children, women and families.
"We must resist divided actions of so few to dictate how we define the thousands who have come to the U.S.to Colorado to build a life here", said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Abbott called the DHS report "deeply disturbing" and used it to rally his call for a statewide ban on so-called "sanctuary cities" in Texas.
"The Sheriff's office has no statutory or constitutional authority to enforce immigration laws, nor do we seek it", Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said in an emailed statement.
Under the policy, announced in late January, the Travis County sheriff's office will not hold suspects for ICE unless ICE gets a warrant or the detainee is suspected of committing serious crimes like murder, aggravated sexual assault, or human trafficking. The percentage was significantly higher than in other cities where officials conducted similar operations: Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
According to the report, seven detainers were issued in Washington County during that time.
Immigration detainers are not limited to people with convictions.
In Texas, Williamson County's sheriff said the same thing. In the past, most arrests were prompted by immigration checks on Travis County jail inmates.
Local governments have paid a heavy price for mistakenly placing their trust in ICE.