New York City and various communities in California turned down requests from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials 20 times in one recent week, leading the latest report from the Trump administration meant to spotlight the lack of cooperation from so-called “sanctuary” cities.
The Department of Homeland Security released its second weekly “Declined Detainer Outcome Report” on Wednesday, following through on a January executive order from Trump. The latest report, covering the week of Feb. 4-10, came just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to cut funding for sanctuary cities not complying with federal immigration law.
"Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the street."
"Such policies cannot continue," Sessions said Monday. "They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the street."
During that week covered in the latest report, ICE issued 2,825 detainers throughout the United States. A total of 47 were declined. New York City, which received 73 requests, turned down 12.
ICE issues detainers to let federal, state and local law enforcement agencies know it wants them to hold certain illegal immigrants in custody until it can come get them. The subjects could be individuals who have come into contact with law enforcement, either detained, arrested or convicted of crimes. ICE generally asks that they be held for up to 48 hours until they can send agents.
While not a technical term, "sanctuary cities" are communities that have refused to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after detaining illegal immigrants. By federal law, they are required to inform the feds when they have an illegal immigrant in custody, even if he or she has not been convicted of a crime. Sanctuary cities often do cooperate with ICE in the cases of violent criminals or illegal immigrants released from prison after serving time for especially violent crimes.
In the latest report, examples of subjects ICE sought and could not get included people suspected, charged or convicted of drug possession, domestic violence and assault.
Although cities and counties in New York and California accounted for nearly half of the refusals, communities in Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia also made the list.
The new report also highlights jurisdictions that have recently declared themselves sanctuary cities. Since January, Baltimore, Tulare, Calif.; Ithaca, N.Y.; Travis County, Texas; Iowa City, Iowa; and Boulder, Colo., have publicly announced their intentions to not honor ICE detainers.
The report noted that ICE field offices have been instructed to continue issuing detainers on all removable aliens in law enforcement custody regardless of prior non-cooperation. As a result, the report states, the number of issued detainers will increase over the next several reporting periods.