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Trump Admin. & Local Police Clash Over Immigration Detention Policy

by Countable | 8.21.17

What’s the story?

The Fourth Amendment protects everyone from being detained beyond the length of time stipulated for the crime. Now Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to get local law enforcement to keep undocumented immigrants beyond the stipulated time allowed by law, and even sympathetic sheriffs are saying that it is not okay.

Why does it matter?

The issue is detainers, which are documents issued by ICE requesting that local law enforcement hold a potentially deportable individual for up to 48 hours beyond the time they would have been released on local criminal charges, giving federal officials time to take them into federal custody. Immigration charges are civil, not criminal, and local officials cannot legally make immigration arrests.

Compliance with detainers is optional for local law enforcement due to this separation of federal and local powers. Some local jurisdictions have refused to honor detainers, arguing that local law enforcement cannot act as tools of the federal government and still keep their communities safe because immigrants will stop reporting crimes over fear of being deported. They also point out that detainers have been repeatedly ruled unconstitutional by the courts. If law enforcement officials violate the Constitution they leave themselves open to litigation and civil penalties.

Sheriff Richard Stanek, of Hennepin County, Minn., told The Daily Beast that ICE is demanding sheriffs violate the Constitution:

"The current ICE detainer notion that Sheriffs can and should hold alleged illegal aliens beyond the time that their local charges are adjudicated is in violation of their constitutional rights while in the United States of America, and ICE knows this."

Some local sheriffs are sympathetic to the administration and are working through the National Sheriffs Association to craft a solution that would allow local jails to become "contractors" for ICE while protecting themselves from legal liability. The New York Times reports that the legal tactic being proposed is that “ICE and the sheriff would sign a contract that pays the sheriff’s department a daily fee to hold the immigrant until ICE can take the person into custody.”

The only thing they’re waiting on is for ICE to draw up the agreement and circulate it to sheriffs to sign up, but ICE wants to run pilot programs first. Meanwhile, local law enforcement is being painted by the administration as being non-compliant, but until agreements are signed even sympathetic sheriffs agree their hands are legally tied. Sheriff Gabriel Morgan of Newport News, VA told the Times:

"You’re giving me a detainer that’s not worth the paper it’s written on in my courts. Then you are trying to say I’m not looking out for public safety. Well, that’s problematic."

What do you think?

Should local law enforcement be allowed to contract with ICE to detain immigrants? Does local law enforcement enforcing federal law put communities at greater or less risk?

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(77)
  • Andy1
    08/21/2017
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    This is not and should not be the role of local police. Police should be doing everything they can to earn the trust of their local community and that includes immigrants.

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  • OlderNWiser
    08/22/2017
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    Human beings are never illegal--a term coined to dehumanize them. Undocumented is pure paperwork, not human worth. We have enough crime and too few officers, so, no it is never their job to detain undocumented people for ICE. To be unable to imagine being the immigrant without papers is to severely lack empathy.

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  • Michael
    08/21/2017
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    Illegal immigrants have no rights under article 4. The Constitution is for "WE THE PEOPLE, OF THE UNITED STATES.

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  • Gail
    08/21/2017
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    Not only does local police involvement in immigration detention reduce safety, it also costs a ton of money, which many communities have not recouped in the past. Local towns do not have the resources to spend on this. Some places who are cooperating are using private prisons at a time when we have a movement away from private prisons because they have poor marks for inmate treatment with respect to physical and mental health. Money of course being the motivator there since the new detainees will pick up the slack and prisons are hoping for contracts. I smell some collusion here between some prison officials and local law enforcement in some locations. ICE detains immigrants for too long without due process, creating another prison pipeline for poor people. There is so much potential for abuse. Remember many of these people are not real criminals, just folks trying to to escape poverty, persecution and/or war. This is a similar problem to Guantanamo, where innocent people were held without due process for a decade or more. This is wrong. I heard a military officer say that he would have freed all of the prisoners in Guantanamo that were held in such a dishonorable manner and would have gladly faced some of them as enemies again in the world rather than betray the Constitution by treating them in this way. I concur. The rule of law has to be consistently applied in times of peace and war, otherwise the powers that be can use it unfairly for agendas that disregard rights, privacy, safety and sovereignty and that is ultimately a threat to all of us.

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  • KansasTamale
    08/22/2017
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    All you have to know is what the 4th Amendment says: The Fourth Amendment protects everyone from being detained beyond the length of time stipulated for the crime. If this change to the amendment is allowed to occur - THE FALL OF OUR DEMOCRACY INTO A DICTATORSHIP WILL BE ON ITS WAY. ONE CHINK IN THE ARMOR OF OUR CONSTITUTION IS ALL THAT'S NEEDED TO START DOWN THAT ROAD.

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  • Alaskafirst
    08/22/2017
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    Non Citizens of this country are entitled to the same "Human rights" as everyone else. They are NOT entitled to the same constitutional rights as US citizens and lawful aliens. The statement by countable is incorrect in stating they do. Now countable is doing the same thing CNN does and pushes an agenda with their spin on the facts. I used to like this site, but like all things ,personal politics seem to be running unchecked here.

    Like (11)
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  • James
    08/21/2017
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    These illegals are not American Citizens therefore do not deserve protection under the Constitution. Also law enforcement must enflorce the law!

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  • M
    08/22/2017
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    Illegals are in violation of Federal Law and should be held indefinitely....

    Like (10)
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  • Mark
    08/21/2017
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    They are here illegally, detain their asses until they are deported. Failure to do this proves you are not a cop but a just a government thug.

    Like (9)
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  • Rick
    08/22/2017
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    There was a time when Countable appeared to present information in an unbiased fashion. The slanted presentation of this poll question exemplifies their lack of credibility. As to the core of the mangled question, law enforcement should enforce our laws.

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  • Dara
    08/22/2017
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    Follow the law. If you don't like the law introduce legislation to change it.

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  • Leslie
    08/21/2017
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    No. Violating the constitution by ICE is a slippery slope indeed.

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  • Christian
    08/22/2017
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    Why is this an issue? The fundamentals laid out in the Constitution - and the rights afforded to us in the amendments - are reserved for AMERICAN CITIZENS. Illegal immigrants from Mexico, Canada -- wherever the hell the come from, are not entitled to these rights and should be deported upon capture.

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  • John
    08/22/2017
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    Illegals are in violation of the law and should be deported or apply to have their visa extended.

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  • Stacie
    08/21/2017
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    "Now Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to get local law enforcement to keep undocumented immigrants beyond the stipulated time allowed by law..." ALLOWED. BY. LAW. If there is law regarding this then follow it. Do not start ignoring, bending, or breaking it to fit specific opinions or ideologies. If it needs to be changed then use the appropriate channels to work on change. But do NOT allow ICE to operate above the law. Aside from being illegal, it sets a bad precedent for anyone looking to justify breaking the law when it fits their political needs.

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  • David
    08/22/2017
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    ^They are illegal immigrants, there are laws which have been on the books for years on how to dal with them, law enforcement is supposed to enforcing the law, ICE should take custody of the illegals and deport them, they are not subject to America's laws, boot their asses out of the country....THEY ARE NOT AMERICA'S RESPONSIBILITY!

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  • John
    08/21/2017
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    No, no no. Amazing how Republicans are so worried about even the most sensible gun law as a"slippery slope" for more government intrusion and restriction but have no issue with this.I guess it's because the well connected and wealthy will not ever have to worry of finding themselves the victim

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  • Chris
    08/21/2017
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    This is unconstitutional. Same rule applies to us all, if you violate constitutional law you are punished. ICE or any other government department or official is not above the law.

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  • operaman
    08/21/2017
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    When ICE places a hold on an illegal, he becomes subject to Federal Authorities. This authority was never an issue prior to the last administrations. But then the rich political elites found that the cheap help was disappearing into ICE. No one to cut the lawn or bus tables. And then "Oh the Humanity!" Never knew undocumented illegals are treated special.

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  • Bfowler7
    08/22/2017
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    They need to follow ICE's Lead! Illegal immigrants have no Constitutional right in the US.

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