By Rafael Bernal
April 11, 2017
The Trump administration on Tuesday suspended its weekly report on so-called sanctuary cities amid questions on the accuracy of the data reported.
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will “analyze and refine its reporting methodologies,” said ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez.
The Declined Detainer Outcome Reports (DDOR) were designed to highlight local and state governments who refused to cooperate with ICE’s detainer program, viewed as an attempt to put political pressure on sanctuary cities.
Under the agency’s detainer program, local law enforcement is asked to keep in custody undocumented immigrants who have been detained by local agencies until ICE can take them into custody.
While governments that don’t fulfill the detainers criticized the DDOR, some local law enforcement agencies that do collaborate with federal officials were incensed at being wrongly included in the lists.
For example, in Texas’ Travis County, ICE listed the sheriff’s office as denying 128 detainers in a week when the office claimed it denied only 1.8 per week on average, NBC News reported.
ICE placed Franklin County, Pa., on its list of top-10 noncompliant jurisdictions, despite the fact that the county provides lists of detainees to the federal agency and allows ICE agents to conduct interviews of its inmates, The New York Times reported.
ICE’s DDOS website shows a correction page explaining why some jurisdictions have been wrongfully included in the reports.
“Due to a data processing error, the Jan. 28 – Feb 03, 2017 Declined Detainer Outcome Report incorrectly attributed issued detainers to Franklin County, Iowa; Franklin County, New York; Franklin County, Pennsylvania; and Montgomery County, Iowa that were in fact issued to agencies outside of the respective county’s jurisdiction in similarly named locations,” reads the ICE site.
Still, detainers remain controversial for many mayors and sheriffs, who believe following the federal policy could put them at risk of violating prisoners’ constitutional rights.
Under the detainer policy, detainees — generally those accused or convicted of a crime — are expected to be held in custody after they would normally have been released by making bail, not being charged or completing their sentences, for instance.
ICE agents, informed of the presence of criminal aliens in a jurisdiction’s detainment centers, would issue a detainer, asking local authorities to hold the prisoner until their arrival.
Many local authorities argue that detaining anyone, including immigrants, past the constitutionally mandated period would put cities and counties at risk of being sued for violation of civil rights and due process.
They also claim that immigrant communities would be reluctant to approach law enforcement as witnesses or victims if they feared their immigration status could be at risk.
The administration argues arrests of criminal immigrants are safer when executed in the confines of a jail – a controlled setting for law enforcement.
“It is much safer for all involved – the community, law enforcement, and even the criminal alien – if ICE officers take custody in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency,” Rodriguez said.
Sessions on Tuesday also asked prosecutors on the border to more aggressively pursue undocumented immigrants, making violations such as crossing the border “higher priorities.”
“This is a new era,” Sessions said. “This is the Trump era.”
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com