Travis County Leads Nation in ICE Detention Request Denials

Malcolm Fuller
March 21, 2017

Montgomery County, where Red Oak is the county seat, has found itself on the list of counties that Immigration and Customs Enforcement says routinely decline to hold immigrant suspects in jail for ICE to check their legal status.

The premier installment of what's anticipated to be a weekly report contains unclear parameters, such as the time period it covers or the reasons chosen by the local departments for not releasing suspects into ICE custody. It also provides evidence after weeks of speculation that Hernandez's policy triggered ICE's ire.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek announced in 2014 that his deputies would no longer honor detainers without a judge's order, pointing to costs the county incurs and constitutional concerns.

One city councilman says he's fed up with how ICE and immigration officials handle illegal immigrants in Baltimore. This was out of a total of 3,083 detainers issued that week. Some localities have chosen not to abide by detainer requests, citing that they can damage the community's relationship with local law enforcement.

After The World-Herald called Sampson, the sheriff contacted ICE.

A spokesperson for the White House declined to comment.

That section also included at least one error: It mistakenly listed 14 rejected detainers for the Travis County Jail in Texas, cases that were actually handled by the State Jail in Texas, a separate facility run by Texas' prisons system. Roughly two-thirds are from Travis County, which includes Austin. All but one request linked to Travis County has a rejection date of February 1. The people ICE sought were natives of Cambodia, Mexico and Guatemala. The percentage was significantly higher than in other cities where officials conducted similar operations: Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

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"Let's be clear-a detainer is a request made by ICE, signed by ICE", said Gonzales.

Montgomery County ranked fourth along with a county in Washington state.

When he signed the January 25 executive order intensifying deportation efforts, Trump said jurisdictions put USA citizens at risk by releasing criminals who should be deported and who, in some cases, commit additional crimes after being released from jail.

DHS officials repeatedly said they believe the detainer requests and refusals will increase in subsequent reports as Trump's strict immigration policies are carried out.

The report appears to make an example of Travis County, where a fierce battle is underway between left-leaning local leaders and Texas' conservative leadership over cooperating with federal agents. Others on the list were charged with drug possession, prostitution and resisting arrest.

The detainer refusals are listed in a table format along with the citizenship of the detained, the detainer request date, the refusal date and the charge or conviction of the arrested. Agents then obtained an arrest warrant charging him with illegal re-entry into the USA because he had been previously deported. The agent testified that he did not think that arresting people as they show up to court is a new policy for the agency.

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