In a move to put public pressure on "sanctuary cities," the Department of Homeland Security on Monday published a list of 118 localities -- including one Oregon county -- that have refused to cooperate with federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants.
Washington County is ranked seventh on the list for the week of January 28 to February 3, with seven detainment requests denied during that time frame.
In January, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city would not "be complicit in the deportation of our neighbors" after President Trump signed an executive order cutting off federal funding for sanctuary cities.
Trump ordered the department to publish a weekly list of all detention requests turned down by local jails, listing the agency, the undocumented immigrants and the charges they face. In an executive order he signed Jan. 25, Trump said the list is necessary to "better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions."
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to start producing the list last month, and on Monday, the agency issued its first public report.
It lists 206 cases in which undocumented immigrants were arrested on local charges and were set to be released from jails. ICE officials requested that the local authorities hold onto those people for up to 48 hours — a request known as a "detainer" — but the requests were denied.
The 206 denials took place the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, although the arrests occurred as early as 2014.
The charges range from homicide and rape to driving violations and probation violations. The majority of the cases, 56 percent, were people charged with crimes but have not been convicted. Under President Barack Obama, undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes were considered priorities for deportation. Trump changed those priorities to include undocumented immigrants accused of any crime.
Clark County, Nev., turned down the highest number of detainers during the week of the report — 51. Nassau County, N.Y., was second with 38 and Cook County, Ill., was third with 13.
Snohomish County, Washington said no 12 times, the fifth highest on the list.
ICE detainers have been a controversial issue for years, as several federal courts have ruled that local authorities are under no legal obligation to honor them. But Trump said "sanctuary jurisdictions" that don't fully comply with federal immigration requests will be punished with the loss of federal grants. Hundreds of local police agencies depend on hundreds of millions of dollars in grants from Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
Jim Ludwick with Oregonians for Immigration Reform says it’s about time ICE lets the public know what is happening.
“I think it’s important that federal authorities start doing their job and that’s enforcing our immigration laws,” he said. “We're either a nation of laws or an outlaw nation.”
Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett released a statement in response to the report Monday night:
Today, the Department of Homeland Security released U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report. The press release states; "This report will be issued weekly to highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans." The Declined Detainer Outcome Report does not accurately describe the difficulties or potential legal ramifications associated with honoring ICE detainer requests.
In April of 2014, a judge for the US District Court of Oregon found Clackamas County violated Maria Miranda-Olivares' constitutional rights (Case No. 3:12-cv-02317-ST). Clackamas County honored an ICE detainer and held Ms. Miranda-Olivares ultimately costing taxpayers in excess of $100,000. Additionally, any agency that honors an ICE detainer is subject to civil litigation.
The Clackamas County court ruling led Washington County, along with every other county in Oregon, to immediately stop honoring ICE detainer requests. Washington County informed ICE officials that it will honor any warrant or court order to detain a person. Washington County will continue to follow the court's clear guidance that these detainer requests are unconstitutional.
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury was ready to talk about the report on Monday.
Her board recently approved $100,000 to help inform undocumented immigrants about their rights and increase access to legal support services.
“We believe that people have rights that they have rights to due process. That they have rights to an attorney and we've made that commitment as an entire state,” she said.
Kafoury said she thinks ICE is using the new report as a fear tactic.
“It sounds like they're just trying to scare people and they're trying to drum up support by making people think there’s a lot of illegal activity occurring in communities across the country,” said Kafoury.
Indeed, part of the ICE report details the crimes for which people were charged or convicted during the week the agency studied.
In Oregon, it reported people were released back in to the community after a convictions for driving under the influence, indecent exposure, assault, and possession of amphetamine.
In Washington State, it noted a person was released with a conviction for domestic violence, and another person with an assault charge.
Ludwick said he hopes the federal government cuts off local jurisdictions that do not cooperate with ICE.
“Certainly. And we hope that if they continue to not abide by federal law, try to thwart immigration and customs, that funds for that particular agency are withheld,” he said.
The ICE report does mention that as a possibility.
KGW.com contributed to this report.
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