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Two New York Counties Lead the List of Not Cooperating with ICE Detainers

In accordance with Executive Order 13867, Enhancing Public Safety of the Interior of the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released their first “Weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report.” The report identifies the jurisdictions with the highest volume of declined detainers nationwide. The weekly reports are seen as the first line of attack on so-called “sanctuary cities” by identifying the jurisdictions who have declined to detain immigrants who could be subject to deportation.

When first analyzing the report, it is important to understand what detainers are. ICE detainers are also referred to as “immigration holds.” Detainers are one of the key tools ICE uses to apprehend individuals who come in contact with state and local law enforcement agencies. Once an undocumented individual is arrested, ICE issues a written request to the local jail or other law enforcement agency to detain the individual for an additional 48 hours after their release date. The additional time is to give ICE an opportunity to decide whether to take the individual into federal custody for removal purposes.

The report released on March 20th, 2017 covers the dates between January 28th and February 3rd 2017 and brings transparency to the jurisdictions that are failing to adhere to the 48-hour hold rule. The report (issued weekly) is comprised of four sections: (1) The highest volume of detainers issued to non-cooperating jurisdictions; (2) Jurisdictions with recorded declined detainers broken down by individuals released; (3) A table of jurisdictions that have enacted policies which limit cooperation; and (4) The scope of the report.

Two New York counties fell in the top ten jurisdictions which failed to cooperate with issued detainers. Nassau County, which fell second on the list only to Clark Nevada, failed to cooperate with 38 detainers that were issued on the dates indicated above. Franklin County, New York, also came in at the number six jurisdiction in the nation, failing to cooperate with 9 detainers issued. For the time period presented in the first report, there were 206 detainers declined by all local jurisdictions.

In section two of the report, “Jurisdictions with Recorded Declined Detainers Broken Down by Individuals Released between January 28, 2017, and February 3, 2017,” there were five declined detainers in the City of New York over that time span. The individuals' associated countries of citizenship included Ecuador, India, Mexico, and Honduras. Their charges ranged from possession of obscene material to a minor assault charge.

Section three of the report indicates the policies of local jurisdictions in relation to the detainers. For instance, both the Franklin and Nassau County Sheriff’s Offices have policies that they will not honor an ICE detainer without a warrant. The written request is simply not enough in these jurisdictions. As for the boroughs of New York City, in 2014 Mayor Bill de Blasio signed two administrative laws that restrict New York City agencies from adhering to ICE detainers. With many other counties across New York State following suit, it is clear that for every week this report is issued, we will continue to see New York jurisdictions at the top.

With immigration policies transforming rapidly under the Trump administration, it is now more important than ever for non-citizens to know their legal rights and available pathways to legal residence or citizenship. If you are concerned about the legal status of yourself or your loved ones and are seeking guidance on your immigration matter, contact experienced New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP. With two immigration law offices located in New York, New York and Metro Park, New Jersey, the firm's attorneys are available to provide non-citizens in the tristate area the legal representation they need. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 1 (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.

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