DHS issues first 'detainer' report

Justin Greene
March 21, 2017

Travis County outpaces other U.S. jurisdictions in declining federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants booked into local jails, according to the first of what are promised to be weekly reports published by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

During a one-week period, Travis County denied the most federal immigration requests of anywhere in the country, according to a report issued Monday, adding more fuel to the debate around sanctuary cities.

Many of those released by the Travis County Sheriff were charged with violent crimes that make the person ineligible to remain in the United States.

"Today's report from DHS is deeply disturbing and highlights the urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas", Governor Abbott said in the written statement.

The data comes as the Texas Legislature is now debating Senate Bill 4, which would ban "sanctuary" jurisdictions by withholding grant funding to them and making police chiefs, sheriffs, constables and other department heads subject to a class A misdemeanor - and potential removal from office - for violating the provision of the bill.


The report lists 118 law enforcement agencies that refused to cooperate with federal authorities. Some jurisdictions feel that legally, without a warrant from ICE, they can not detain individuals beyond the extent otherwise dictated by criminal law.

During the same week (Jan. 28 to February 3), ICE issued 3,083 detainers throughout the country.

Crimes included convictions and charges of domestic violence, driving under the influence, forgery, assault, drugs, traffic offenses and homicide. "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". There is also concern that because people may only be charged with a crime and not convicted, they could be deported before the conclusion of a trial.

The majority of the inmates listed on Monday's report were from Mexico, although several were from Central America. Immigration detainers are a request from ICE to a jail or another local law enforcement agency to hold someone in violation of immigration law so they can be picked up.

President Donald Trump established the publication of weekly lists of jurisdictions declining ICE detainers in an executive order signed earlier this year.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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