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Following an executive order from the president, the Trump administration released its first rundown of recalcitrant local jurisdictions.
Pursuant with an executive order signed by President Trump, ICE’s report details the 10 noncompliant counties with the most detainers received during the reporting period—Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, in this case. Also reported are charges or convictions associated with all suspects whose detainers were declined during the same time period and a running list of jurisdictions with “sanctuary” policies limiting cooperation with ICE.
Detainers are issued for suspects in local custody whom ICE has “probable cause” to believe are undocumented immigrants and, thus, deportable. But some legal experts argue such re-arrests on behalf of ICE put localities at risk of federal lawsuits for unreasonable search and seizure—a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” said Thomas Homan, acting ICE director, in a statement. “Our goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners.”
Because local law enforcement doesn’t generally notify ICE when a detainer is declined, the agency’s report only consists of noncompliance it’s aware of. During the reporting period, 3,083 detainers were issued, and that number is likely to increase in future reports because ICE plans to resume sending detainers to known uncooperative jurisdictions.
Clark County, Nevada, led noncompliant counties in number of detainers received with 51, followed by Nassau County, New York, with 38 and Cook County, Illinois, with 13. Together, the top 10 noncompliant counties for detainers comprised 5.1 percent of all the ones received.
Detention centers were found to have declined a total of 206 detainers during the reporting period, many of them issued by ICE years prior—February 2014 being the earliest. ICE not only listed convictions of suspects involved—fraud, drug and weapon possession and domestic violence for instance—but also cases where suspects have only been charged and not found guilty in a court of law.
Suspect citizenship was also recorded with not a single detainer issued for a person of European origin.
An ICE official advised against drawing long-term conclusions from one week’s worth of data, adding the agency places detainers on anyone “amenable to removal,” including Europeans. No detainers were intentionally excluded from the report, the official said.
Ithaca, New York, was the most recent local jurisdiction to make ICE’s compendium of governments passing policies limiting cooperation with immigration enforcement. A February municipal code change states the city will work with ICE under “limited, specified circumstances” like violent crimes or terrorist attacks.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.