Illegal immigrants who are arrested and suspected of an assortment of crimes are increasingly being released in counties across America before they can be potentially deported.
As USA Today notes, after “incoming inmates are fingerprinted and run through a federal system” to check whether they are in the country illegally, the Department of Homeland Security “then flags those suspected of being” illegal immigrants and issues a “detainer” to allow sheriffs to hold “onto the person until Immigrations and Customs Enforcement [ICE] can come get them for possible deportation.”
But sheriffs across the country are ignoring ICE’s requests for those that have not committed “very serious” crimes like murder.
In Boulder Country, Colorado, Sheriff Joe Pelle “joined several other Colorado sheriffs in announcing he would no longer honor the ICE requests” to hold illegal immigrants “up to 48 hours beyond their normal release time.”
“I’m not taking a stand on immigration, but I’d like to point out that the system is really screwed up, and they’re leaving us in a bad position. There needs to be a better way to do business,” he told the outlet. “Everybody is being forced to have their county attorneys look at this… and change their policy.”
According to USA Today, 30 counties in Oregon and California’s Sonoma County have also changed their respective policies regarding ICE detainers, even though ICE officials have “said releasing suspected illegal immigrants back into the community poses dangers, both to the public and to the agents.”
That’s what Cook County officials in Illinois realized in the five months after they “stopped honoring ICE detainer requests” in 2011. According to news reports, 346 people with ICE detainers were released and “11 went on to be re-arrested later on new charges.” Most recently, an illegal immigrant similarly released was “charged with killing his ex-girlfriend.”