Department of Homeland Security documents reveal that hundreds of counties denied Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests for criminal illegal aliens in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.
Leading the pack of local jurisdictions denying detainers were Ventura County, Calif. (188); Miami-Dade, Fla. (93); Denver, Colo. (74); Clark, Nev. (68); and Los Angeles (57). See list of the top 50 counties compiled by Judicial Watch.
A total of 284 detainers were declined during the first three months of fiscal year 2017, the most recent period reported by ICE. Criminal offenses ranged from various forms of assault (16); to drug- and alcohol-related charges (39); to weapons charges and crimes against persons and property (18).
Most of the aliens had prior criminal records, indicating a long-standing pattern of local authorities failing to cooperate with ICE, weak federal enforcement, or both.
Such dereliction of duty has consequences. Last month, an illegal alien pleaded guilty to felony drunken driving in the traffic death of a Kansas deputy sheriff. Sanctuary policies in two cities had allowed the previously convicted alien to dodge deportation.
Cracking down on sanctuary cities that ignore or only selectively comply with federal detainer requests, the Trump administration directed ICE agents last month to make large-scale arrests of illegal immigrants in some of those jurisdictions.
Of the 498 aliens arrested in “Operation Safe City,” 64 percent had previous criminal convictions. Notably, 104 of the arrestees had been previously deported.
California recently declared the entire state a sanctuary – a move that further blurs legal and illegal residency and will surely increase ICE noncompliance numbers there. Texas, meantime, enacted a law banning sanctuary policies in the Lone Star State.
In Minneapolis, Minn., local actions went beyond a simple lack of cooperation to outright obstruction. According to a March 21, 2017, ICE email: “Hennepin County Adult Detention Center released an alien out the front door of the jail as an ICE officer was waiting in their sally port to take him into custody.”
According to DHS policy, “ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.”