A new report from the Department of Homeland Security shows Travis County declined more than 140 ICE detainer requests in a one-week period.
"When criminal aliens are released from local or state custody, they have the opportunity to reoffend", ICE said in a statement. According to a Tribune analysis of detainer data, Travis county declined 72 requests between January 2014 and September 2015. 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 risky and should be criminal in itself. All of the detainers declined by Travis County on the federal list are dated February 1.
"This is an effort for us to be transparent with regards to how we conduct our enforcement operations and the public safety from those agencies that don't cooperate with those enforcement efforts", said a senior DHS official in a briefing call with reporters.
The list stems from a Trump executive order entitled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the U.S". Avideh Moussavian, a staff lawyer at NILC, said police often cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies on criminal matters, but emphasized that immigration violations are civil, not criminal. Detainers include charges or prior convictions for offenses ranging from drunken driving to aggravated assault and homicide.
During that week, ICE issued 3,083 detainers. In these cases, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency asks local police to hold illegal immigrants for up to 48 hours, long enough for ICE officers to pick them up and put them into deportation proceedings.
Some field offices had ceased issuing detainers to known uncooperative jurisdictions, according to ICE. There also are concerns about due process. It doesn't represent all the cases in which immigration authorities sought custody of people facing criminal charges, with major cities like NY and Los Angeles underrepresented on the list. That means the Southern Nevada County received the most detainers among "jurisdictions that do not comply with detainers on a routine basis", the report said. "We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities".