A new feature of the Trump Administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is a weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report. The first edition reveals 206 criminal aliens released from jails in sanctuary jurisdictions. Texas takes the number one slot with more than 70 percent of cases.
The report lists each declined detainer and the crime for which the alien stands accused. It also lists each jurisdiction that released the individual whom immigration officials requested they hold.
“The report from DHS is commendable, but also alarming,” Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan told Breitbart Texas on Monday. “Now the public can understand exactly who is benefiting from the sanctuary policies–the released criminal aliens.”
The initial report covers the week of January 28 through February 3, 2017. It details the release of many dangerous criminal aliens including those with convictions for domestic violence, arson of a residence that endangered life, felony assaults, forgery, burglary, drug possession and distribution, battery, possession of dangerous weapons, sex crimes, and murder.
Of the 206 total criminal aliens released by these jurisdictions, local Texas jails released 149. Travis County alone accounted for 142 of the 206 inmates listed in the report. In addition to Travis County, the report lists Bastrop and Williamson Counties.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office denied being a sanctuary jurisdiction. They state they fully cooperate with ICE officials and honor all immigration detainers. The department explained their deputies arrested the four individuals and subsequently transferred them to another county (most likely Travis) “where we believe ICE detainers are not honored,” sheriff’s office officials told KXAN in Austin.
In an interview with Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook Breitbart Texas learned his deputies did arrest the three individuals listed in the ICE report. When checking the background on the suspects, the deputies discovered they were wanted in Travis County on outstanding warrants. Bastrop County turned the three immigrants over to Travis County along with the immigration detainers. Travis County processed the individuals and released them without honoring the immigration hold, Sheriff Cook said.
“We cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, federal, state, or local,” Sheriff Cook told Breitbart Texas.
“The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office is committed to supporting the Constitution of the United States and related laws in the furtherance of mutual cooperation among all law enforcement agencies who share a mutual interest in making our county a safe place to live, work, and raise our families,” the sheriff continued in a written statement on the department’s Facebook page.
This means that Travis County is likely responsible for all 149 of the inmates with immigration holds being released in Texas. That accounts for 72.3 percent of all of the immigrants with ICE detainers who were released by sanctuary jurisdictions.
“I was shocked at the number of violent criminals set free by Travis County–and these are just the ones that ICE knows about because they were re-arrested,” Vaughan stated. “There could be many others who have not yet been found by ICE. It’s wrong for Travis County to put the public safety at risk for its narrow political purposes, and wrong to put ICE and other law enforcement officers at risk when they have to take to the streets to catch these people, or when they re-offend.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott agreed. “The Travis County Sheriff’s decision to deny ICE detainer requests and release back into our communities criminals charged with heinous crimes–including sexual offenses against children, domestic violence, and kidnapping – is dangerous and should be criminal in itself,” the governor said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Texas will act to put an end to sanctuary policies that put the lives of our citizens at risk.”
Vaughan said there is no guarantee that those released criminals will stay in Travis County. “Sanctuary policies put everyone at risk, and they make a mockery of our federal laws,” she explained. “It’s past time for them to start paying the price, whether in the form of reduced state and federal funding or in the form of litigation or prosecution for illegal harboring. The human cost is getting out of hand. If Texas succeeds in implementing an effective anti-sanctuary policies, that will be a positive model for other states to follow.”
Vaughn and Abbott referred to Senate Bill 4, the state’s anti-sanctuary city bill currently being debated in the Texas House after passage in the Senate. The House State Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) left the bill pending following a hearing last week where more than 500 people registered to testify.
The report details the sanctuary policies for each of the listed jurisdictions that failed to honor immigration detainers. ICE officials said they will issue the report on a weekly basis. The report will cover a period six weeks prior to its issuance.
States with jurisdictions refusing to honor immigration detainers include Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The list includes foreign nationals from all over the world. Those countries include Brazil, Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Tonga, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
ICE officials noted several offices stopped issuing immigration detainers to jurisdictions known to not be cooperating with the requests. ICE has reversed that policy and will begin issuing holds regardless of sanctuary status. Officials expect the numbers of declined detainers to increase over the next few months.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with new information obtained from Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook.