Color Lines: Counties Defy Feds, Vow Not to Detain Immigrants on ICE’s Behalf

"Cooperating with the federal government’s immigration enforcement agenda may be mandatory for local law enforcement, but localities are finding ways around the federal government’s programs.

Last week northern California’s Santa Clara County became the latest locality to pass an ordinance that will likely curb the number of its residents who get handed over to federal immigration authorities through the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities. That same week, Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order reaffirming the rights of D.C. residents not to get harassed by law enforcement officers about their immigration status.

These announcements are the latest in a string of similar moves from other counties which have attempted to push back on the federal government’s interpretation of its Secure Communities program. S-Comm, as the initiative is often called, allows immigration officials to check the fingerprints of everyone booked into a local or county jail against federal immigration records. Even if the person is wrongfully arrested or never charged with any crime, they become subject to deportation if they’re found to be undocumented. If a match is found, Immigration and Customs Enforcement — if it doesn’t already have an agent posted inside the local jail — will call local law enforcement and ask them to detain a person while ICE agents come down to the jail to take them away for detention proceedings.

Santa Clara County has now determined that enforcing such detainers for ICE are 'requests' from the federal government which it’s under no obligation to carry out. It’s further argued that holding onto people in county jails for ICE is a costly financial burden that localities, which are not reimbursed by the federal government, should not to have enforce."  Read more …

 

 

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