After being pressured by pro-amnesty advocates, a Florida county has decided to “no longer jail immigrants who are being investigated for deportation.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Officer David Gee sent letters to U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security officials informing them that his “office will only honor immigration detainer requests if there is a legal order to do so,” reportedly following the lead of sheriffs in three other counties.
As the Times notes, “Hillsborough held all arrested undocumented immigrants at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for up to two days, even if the inmate posted bail,” but officials started to review the policy, like many other municipalities, “after a federal judge in Oregon ruled in April that an immigrant woman’s rights were violated when she was held in jail at ICE’s request.”
As of August 20, inmates in the county will only be held “when a charging document initiating deportation has been filed, a warrant has been issued, or removal from the United States has been ordered.” Other counties have allowed illegal immigrants to post bail and leave.
According to the Times, Raíces en Tampa, a local immigration activist group, took credit for the policy change.
“This is a big victory for us,” Oscar Hernandez, the group’s spokesperson, told the outlet. “We’ve been pushing since June for them to change the policy.”