HOUSTON, Texas–Bell County, Texas, has spent almost $200,000 so far this year on detainers, or “immigration holds,” for illegal immigrants.
Detainer requests from federal immigration officials require local law enforcement to hold illegal immigrants, detained for local charges, past the length of their jail times. Typically, the holding time is 48 hours. During this time, federal agents decide whether or not to deport the individuals.
The federal government does not reimburse Bell County Jail and other local detainment facilities for immigration holds, according to KDH News. The local media outlet reported that each inmate costs the Bell County jail $67.35 per day; local taxpayers are forced to subsidize such costs.
Bell County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Donnie Adams told KDH, “After we get through with them, we notify ICE that they are ready for release. If they want the hold, they get 48 hours to pick them up.”
Residents in counties around the nation feel the strain of immigration holds, but some areas have started ignoring detainer requests. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, officials in over a dozen counties in Southern California declared that detainer requests from federal immigration agents will be ignored.
While the cost of detainers to local taxpayers is worrisome, many find the decision to ignore such requests even more disturbing, given that government officials released more than 36,000 criminal illegal immigrants onto U.S. soil in 2013.
Sylvia Longmire, a Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert, said of immigration holds:
These are convicted criminals who are very likely eligible to be deported immediately, but because ICE either doesn’t have the personnel, resources, or just plain interest in transferring these individuals to immigration detention facilities, they’re being let go into local communities. Local law enforcement agencies are tired of having to enforce federal immigration laws when that’s not part of their mission, and definitely when they’re not receiving any additional funding to do so.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.